Interviewer: When you’re in pain and you head to the doctor, you already know what’s coming. Rate your pain on a scale of one to ten. But is that really the best way to gauge it, and if so, then what? Dr. Jorge Leal from Florida Pain Relief joins us now to talk more about this. Okay, Dr. Leal, what exactly is pain management?
Dr. Leal: Pain management, it’s a relatively new specialty that is basically charged with trying to diagnose and then manage the chronic pain.
Interviewer: Now, we hear about doctors all the time saying, “Rate your pain from one to ten.” Is that really an accurate benchmark, and does that really help you when I say, “I’m at a seven”?
Dr. Leal: Well, it’s the best that we have. As you well know, pain is subjective, meaning that only the individual that is experiencing the sensation is capable of rating it, so we try to keep it simple. So just a numeric rating system has been effective and has been validated statistically that it is as good as we can achieve, given the circumstances that it is a purely subjective experience.
Interviewer: Is medication usually the best way to treat pain, or are there better alternatives out there?
Dr. Leal: Well as you well know in our society, pills seem to be the first thing that we reach for, but perhaps that may not be the correct one. Due to the fact that pain has been relatively under-treated in the past, we became to rely heavily on pills to try to keep the pain under control. And then eventually we started to realize that indeed may be doing some harm and there may not be any benefit in the long run in trying to control some person…individual’s pain.
Interviewer: So what is the best way then to treat pain? Because there are a lot of people that are taking pills as we speak right not to try to just get through the day. So, from the Florida Pain Relief Group, how do you approach somebody who’s got pain?
Dr. Leal: Well, the most important thing is to try to find out what is causing the pain. And for that, we need to approach the problem in a comprehensive fashion to find out what caused the pain, what has been done in the past, what worked, what hasn’t worked, have there been any side effects? So all those things get taken care of…into consideration, and then we formulate a plan of therapy. And that could be from medications to interventional techniques to sometimes surgical approaches, and some rehabilitative techniques are available.
Interviewer: What are some non-invasive options that you have for people who are dealing with pain?
Dr. Leal: Well, the most important thing is to treat any underlying psychological difficulties or problems that the individual may be having. Not uncommon, it’s almost akin to the chicken and egg. Which comes first, the pain causing anxiety or anxiety aggravating the pain? So they are intricately related, so they must be addressed. So psychological counseling, psychological therapies, including also pharmacological therapies, are very important in the management of pain.
Interviewer: But the bottom line is you want your patients to be free of this pain. They don’t want them to live with it.
Dr. Leal: That is correct. The idea is to manage it and allow them a better quality of life.
Interviewer: All right, a lot of people will be happy to hear that. Dr. Leal, thank you very much. You can visit their website. It is floridapainpeliefgroup.com, or you can give them a call, 844-KICK-PAIN to schedule your same-day appointment. There is relief out there. We’ll be right back with more Daytime, so don’t go away.