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Because chronic pain is so complex, there are often multiple treatment goals. These goals may include more comfort (being "pain-free" is often not possible when pain has become chronic), better physical functioning, improved coping and less distress, getting back to work, helping the family cope, and other positive outcomes. To accomplish these goals, chronic pain often is best managed using what is called a "multimodality" approach.

The patient's response to therapies may be influenced by age, gender, race or ethnicity, cultural beliefs, or any of a variety of physical, emotional, social, family, occupational, and spiritual circumstances. Treatments for pain must be tailored to the individual, based on each person's unique condition.

A multimodality approach to chronic pain includes a combination of therapies selected from eight broad categories:

  • drug therapies
  • psychological therapies
  • rehabilitative therapies
  • anesthesiological therapies
  • neurostimulatory therapies
  • surgical therapies
  • lifestyle changes
  • complementary and alternative medicine therapies

In many cases, a multimodality strategy requires the involvement of several types of health care professionals -the interdisciplinary team.

Effective pain management is therefore collaborative in nature, involving good communication among the patient, family, and the practitioners involved in the care. A sense of partnership in trying to find the best therapeutic approach promotes the most creative, and ultimately the most effective, approaches. Patient-practitioner partnership can maximize the patient's involvement and sense of control in the healing process. Patients must feel empowered to seek the best care and to act in a way that uses their own resources in the service of health. If an interdisciplinary team of practitioners is involved in developing a multimodality approach, the members must communicate freely to ensure the appropriate targeting of therapy. Family communication helps promote positive patterns within the family and may reduce the stress caused by prolonged pain and impaired function.

From this perspective, Integrative Pain Therapy is a natural extension of state-of-the-art conventional pain management.

   

 

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