Finding the Right Chronic Pain Care Plan for You

Working with Your Doctor

How chronic pain is experienced is unique to every person.6 There is no test to measure how chronic pain feels or exactly where it is located.6 So, your doctor will rely on you to tell him or her how the pain feels, how often you experience the pain, and where exactly it hurts.6 Defining pain as sharp or dull, constant, on-and-off, burning, or aching may give the best clues to the cause of the pain.6 These descriptions are part of what is called the pain history. Your healthcare team will usually start your appointment by discussing your pain so they understand your pain history.6

A Pain Treatment Team

Since chronic pain may occur in a variety of locations in the body and for many different reasons, it is important for you to work with your doctor to identify the causes and symptoms of your pain to find the treatment plan that works for you.6 The best treatment plans are tailored to each individual person with input from healthcare team members.6 It may be helpful to work with several healthcare professionals who have different training backgrounds and an understanding of chronic pain.6 The person in pain and his or her loved ones must also be actively involved in the treatment plan.6

Types of Chronic Pain Management

The overall goal of chronic pain management is to reduce the pain to help people return to daily living.6 While there are a variety of options available to treat chronic pain, it usually cannot be cured, only managed.6 A variety of options exist for you and your pain care team to create the treatment plan that is right for you.7 These options include6.7:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Meditation
  • Massage therapy
  • Behavior modification
  • Acupuncture
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Nerve blocks
  • Surgery
  • Medicines (aspirin, acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, topical anesthetics, opioid medicines)