Chronic Pain

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Manonmani_Antony_as11_sqBy: Manonmani Antony, MD.

Chronic Pain is a Disease, Not a Symptom.

Pain: An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage. (IASP)

Pain: The Fifth Vital Sign Pain is now being called the fifth vital sign,…

along with pulse, blood pressure, temperature, and respiration. Besides checking those vital signs, health care givers ask patients to rate their pain in the scale of 1-10. In conjunction with the other vital signs, pain can reveal a tremendous amount about the health status of a person. When Pain Goes Awry: Chronic Pain To feel pain after an injury for a certain period of time is normal. When that pain extends beyond that time — beyond the expected period of healing — then that is what is called “chronic pain.” Chronic pain is a disease for which there is often little sympathy. This is because many people don’t understand it.

Living with chronic pain limits what you can do.

Chronic pain can interfere with your ability to work, to play with your children, to walk or even to take care of yourself. To avoid pain, many people limit the amount of things they do in a day. Eventually, this causes weakness, which leads to even less activity, and a cycle is formed. While chronic pain is not all in your head, your psychological state plays a huge role in the effect it has on your life. If you or someone you know has chronic pain, you may notice irritability, anger, depression and difficulty concentrating. The psychological side effects of living with chronic pain can be as debilitating as the pain itself. This is what makes chronic pain such a complex condition.

The Cost of Chronic Pain

Approximately 76.2 million Americans suffer chronic pain and roughly 63 % of pain sufferers seek help from their primary care clinicians. Pain accounts for 20% of outpatient visits and 12% of all prescriptions. Persistent pain often causes functional impairment and disability, psychological distress (anxiety, depression), and sleep deprivation. Almost 80 % of chronic pain patients report that pain disrupts their activities of daily living, and two-thirds indicate that pain has negatively impacted personal relationships. Pain is the most common cause of long-term disability, with lost work days in the United States estimated at more than 50 million days per year. The annual cost of untreated or under-treated pain to taxpayers and employers has been calculated at over $100 billion per year, in direct and indirect expenses.

What You Can Do About Chronic Pain

In reality, many people continue to live healthy, productive lives in spite of their pain. This is because they have found ways to cope with the pain, either through medications, alternative treatments or a combination of the two.  While it can be frustrating to try different prescriptions, it is worth it to find a medication that controls your pain. Because there are so many types of medications that control chronic pain, it can take many months to find the one that works best for you. Most pain medications are safe and effective when taken correctly. Used alone or combined with medications, alternative and complimentary treatments can be a powerful tool in learning to live with chronic pain. Some examples are spinal injections, nerve blocks, joint injections, physical therapy, chiropractor therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and behavioral therapies.

The first step you should take if you are experiencing chronic pain is to visit a pain doctor,

Your doctor will take your information, assess your situation, and plan the best course of treatment so that you can live as much as possible a pain-free life.

Dr. Manonmani Antony is a graduate of University Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. She completed her anesthesiology residency training at Texas Tech University, where she achieved Outstanding Resident Award, Class of 2001. Dr. Antony is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist with fellowship training in pain medicine from University of Maryland. She has been in practice for over nine years and exclusively practices pain management. She was awarded an Appreciation Certificate by The House Of Representatives, Delaware for three consecutive years.  Dr. Antony offers help and hope to those who experience pain relating to headaches, back and neck pain, facial pain, pain due to arthritis, RSD, Shingles, Fibromyalgia, Phantom Limb Pain, pelvic pain, cancer pain, painful neuropathies, industrial and accidental injuries, and pain arising from fractured vertebrae. Dr. Antony offers numerous treatment options in traditional medicine with the added benefit of advanced techniques. These include medication management, Epidural Injections, Fluoroscopic Guided Neural Blockade, Sympathetic ganglion blocks, Joint injections, Radio-frequency Thermocoagulation, Discography and Spinal cord Stimulators. The majority of Dr. Antony’s patients are referred by other physicians. “By the time many people see me, they’ve already been to several physicians who were unable to find the cause of their pain,” she says. “And while it’s ideal when the source of pain can be determined, it’s not a prerequisite for pain relief. We can manage the symptoms without knowing why they occur.” “My own mother had abdominal pain for many months from a metastatic liver disease, so I know the toll that pain can take and how difficult it is to watch a loved one in pain,” she says. “I enjoy practicing pain medicine and making a difference in the lives of people in pain, a truly under-served population”

“Doctor Antony is a very highly skilled and professional physician that has been very successful in my treatment. But most of all noted and experienced, a wonderful person who has demonstrated that her integrity in regards to “Truthfulness, Fairness, Good Will and Warm Heartedness” is second to none.”     ~ Gary M. Pavlovic

“Dr. Antony has worked patiently with me to control my back pain and the other pain I have because of my Psoratic Arthritis…. Because of her I can function again…. She has vastly improved my quality of life. My pain is manageable and I don’t spend days in bed in pain. Even my mental health is better.”     ~ B. J. Warner

“After two back surgeries and countless other pain management programs, I finally met a Doctor who understands the proper course of treatment. You have been a lifesaver to me over the two years I have been your patient. I went from not being able to do anything physical that required the use of my back, missing work a day or two a week, to leading as close to a normal life than I have in a long time. I haven’t missed a day of work due to my back the entire time I have been your patient…. You always took the time to listen to me during visits and give me the personal attention that so many doctors lack.”     ~ Kurt Bryson

“I’ve been seeing Dr. Antony for over two years now and she has been a Godsend…. I’m on the right path thanks to her help. I’m thankful for Dr. Antony and her office.”    ~ JJ