If you occasionally develop pain, you can typically take a dose of Ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and then be on your way. But chronic pain is different. Pain that comes up day after day after day really tends to wear on you and can make it nearly impossible to live your life. If you're living with chronic pain, then you should look into integrated pain management, or IPM. These programs seek to manage your pain from multiple angles and approaches. Here are a few questions people often have before beginning IPM.
How does IPM differ from just being prescribed pain relievers?
If your doctor were to prescribe you pain relievers, that would be a single approach to pain relief. For some patients that is all that is needed. But for many patients, simply taking prescription pain relievers is not enough to fully keep their pain at bay. There's also the worry that, by using prescription pain relievers alone, you will become too dependent on them.
IPM is not just prescription pain relievers. It's a complete pain management program, customized for you. It may include things like physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, and herbal remedies. For some types of pain, it may also include dietary changes and restrictions.
Do you have to take opiates as a part of IPM?
With the opiate epidemic, many people are apprehensive about taking opiate pain relievers, and that is understandable. Not every IPM plan calls for them. If you really want to avoid them, then your doctors can work with you to come up with a pain management plan that does not include them. However, many IPM plans do call for some use of opiates. The plan just aims to restrict how often you use them so that you don't become too dependent on them. For example, you may be told to use naproxen daily, but you may also be prescribed 10 hydrocodone pills per month to use when the pain is at its worst.
How long do you have to be in an IPM program?
This depends on what's causing your pain. If your pain is from a condition that will never heal or go away, you may be in an IPM program for the rest of your life. On the other hand, if one day you heal and no longer have pain, you will leave the program. It's totally flexible and patient-led.
IPM programs can be a life-saver for anyone with chronic pain. It's such a relief to work alongside your doctor and come up with pain relief solutions that work for you.
To learn more, contact a company like Inland Pain Medicine near you.