For people suffering chronic pain, pain intensity is not the only factor that should be considered when treating the patient. Many assume that once the pain is reduced, the patient will go back to living their normal life. However, this is often not the case.
Many chronic pain patients have decreased muscle flexibility and strength, and in addition psychological problems (Schofferman, 2006). Therefore, multi-disciplinary rehabilitation may be an important part of their treatment.
Successful treatment may be reflected as much by improvement in function as in reduction in pain intensity. The capacity for increased activity allows a pain patient to do things otherwise prevented by pain. A patient who was unable to work due to his severe low back pain could after treatment, despite persistent pain, sit, stand, and walk for longer periods of time. He returned to work to a desk job. Despite residual pain the treatment was still considered successful by the patient because he was able to return to work.
Filed under: pain management
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