6.  Find a Pain Clinic

Learning to cope with chronic pain is the key to regaining control of your life. Even if you can't make your pain go away, it is almost always possible to reduce your pain levels and, more importantly, improve your quality of life.

To do this, you may need to take a multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain. While many people with pain have tried every available medical intervention without great success, sometimes these therapies are more effective when performed together in a controlled setting.

A pain management clinic can provide special programs to help you learn to cope with chronic pain. The clinic provides an environment for receiving treatments to restore your quality of life and levels of activity, even if the pain itself is not completely relieved.

Treatment is provided by a team of health professionals, who work together to address the variety of factors that may be contributing to your chronic pain. This team may include:

Psychologist
Psychiatrist
Counsellor
Pain Specialist
Physiotherapist
Occupational Therapist
Pain Nurse
Anaesthetists
Neurosurgeon
Neurologist
Neurophysiologist

Other specialists may include dentists to treat facial pain or complementary therapy providers to help improve relaxation. These specialists will meet to share information and ensure your coordinated care.

Sometimes, pain clinics run special programs to help people to get back a more active and productive life, even if there is no immediate way to resolve their chronic pain.

Regular Follow Up

It is frequently difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of chronic pain and, even when there is a specific diagnosis, different patients may react differently to the same medication.

Your doctor may want to try a number of treatments to see which one works best for you. Sometimes a treatment won't do anything at first - it may take a period of weeks for the effects to build up so that any signs of potential relief can be assessed. In other cases, a treatment will work at first but the effectiveness then fades. For these reasons, a systematic trial of various options will have more benefits than changing from doctor to doctor.

If you consult too many sources, the conflicting advice you may receive can be confusing. You may be referred to another specialist if your pain doctor feels you could benefit from a treatment that he or she cannot provide. And by the same token, if you feel you might benefit from a special treatment, you should discuss a referral with your doctor.

Chances are, you have already explored a number of different medical options. You may be feeling frustrated and angry because your pain is so persistent. For what it's worth, health professionals feel equally frustrated because their search for a successful treatment is not always met. Try to develop an honest relationship with your chosen health professionals. They do believe you - they accept that you are in pain and they are trying to help you.

Some people with chronic pain get to the point where they are willing to 'try anything'. But try to stay with the advice that the pain clinic doctor gives you, especially in regard to medication. No matter how bad your pain is, the wrong treatment could make it worse.

And finally, remember to take pleasure and comfort from the small things in life - especially those precious moments, hours, days, or weeks that you may be free from your pain.

If you are suffering from chronic pain, discuss treatment options with your doctor and ask to be referred to a Pain Specialist near you.