Pain Management

What Is Pain Management?

A common saying is that it’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years. Seniors arrive at retirement and their golden years with high hopes, but chronic pain can be an all-too-common reality. It can sap our strength, our mental resources, and even our will to live. At Princeton Health Care Center, we know that debilitating pain need not be a part of growing older; our pain management programs improve quality of life for many seniors in the Princeton, WV area.

Common Pain Types and Sources

Addressing pain properly means understanding its sources, and how each pain manifests. Pain can be caused by injury, but other causes are less obvious. Cancer can cause pain directly, as can its treatment. Medical tests, even when performed with the utmost care, can cause pain as well. Neuropathic pain can be caused by nerve damage. Phantom pain can be caused by a past injury or a psychological issue and numerous other sources. Other maladies, ranging from constipation to a urinary tract infection, may be the source of the problem.

That pain manifests as short-duration breakthrough pain, highly severe acute pain that can vanish as quickly and inexplicably as it appears, or chronic pain that varies in severity but never seems to go away. Good pain management seeks to address not only the presence of pain but also the cause to whatever extent possible.

The Importance of Pain Management

Pain management matters because a patient’s pain does not exist in a vacuum. Failing to manage pain can have serious psychological and physiological effects, whereas effective pain management can prevent the adverse psychological and physiological effects of unrelieved pain. This, in turn, enhances healing and promotes both physical and psychological wellness.

Our Approach

Thankfully, the continuous evolution of pain management theory and practice gives us more tools now than ever before to ease patients’ discomfort. This includes new approaches to pain assessment that account for not only the severity of pain but also its impact on patients’ everyday lives.

But we’re also rethinking treatment approaches. We are cognizant of the opioid epidemic which, we should note, has not spared older adults. For this reason, we take a more holistic approach that integrates physical therapy and occupational therapy, medical devices, non-narcotic painkillers, and other modalities that embrace the mind-body connection and encourage activities for a healthier mind and body.

Pain Management at Princeton Health Care Center

Well-intentioned though they may be, general practitioners — and even some professionals with experience in gerontology — may not have the experience to treat all types of chronic pain. This is especially true in the later stages of Alzheimers and dementia, which is where the Princeton Health Care Center difference becomes most apparent. If you seek compassionate care and pain management in a skilled nursing setting — whether for yourself or a loved one — please contact us today.

Psychological Effects of Pain

The psychological effects of pain can include anxiety, depression, confusion, disorientation, hypercortisolemia, insomnia, and an inability to concentrate. Those of us who’ve cared for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s will recognize these as symptoms of those disorders, which underscores the importance of clinical care — it often takes a skilled practitioner to identify where one leaves off and the other begins.

Physiological Effects of Pain

The psychological effects of pain are simply the tip of the metaphorical iceberg. Left unmanaged, severe prolonged pain eventually takes a physiological toll as well. Those with chronic pain are often less active; taken in tandem with the distress caused by pain, individuals are susceptible to muscle spasm, tissue damage, a higher risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), hypertension, hormone imbalance, and slower wound healing.