Pain management guidelines, as the name suggests, aim at improving the emotional, psychological, social, and physical dimensions of the quality of life lived by individuals suffering from pain. Pain management guidelines are drafted according to cognitive and behavioral principles. It is important to note that the problems that arise with people suffering from pain are dictated by individual’s psychological and physical well being as opposed to the damage or disease a person is suffering from.
Pain management guidelines are drafted with this in mind. It is also important to note that pain management guidelines are applied in the early stages to prevent development of pain related disability or persistent pain development. The guidelines of pain management revolve around education and guided practice. Below is an in-depth discussion of these guidelines.
Multidisciplinary team members are charged with the responsibility of providing education or information in their respective fields of expertise using interactive styles that enable patients to understand and resolve pain difficulties applying to particular problems or situations. The education provided is usually referred to as pain mechanisms, associated pathologies, healthy function, or normal processes.
Pain management guidelines touch on many things in regards to education. These include; the physiology and anatomy of pain pathways and pain itself, the differences between persistent and acute pain, pain and psychology i.e. stress, depression, distress, avoidance and fear, increased activity in relation to risk and safety, the role of exercise in improving functions and promoting better health, the pros and cons of using treatment and medication, and lastly, self management of setbacks and flare-ups. All this information offers in-depth understanding of pain management.
Other information introduces the rationales and treatment principles of pain management because they aren’t intuitively obvious. This information highlights goal setting principles, strategies for improving sleep, cues and reinforcements for changing habits, mutual influences on emotions, behavior way of thinking and belief, and lastly, cognitive strategies for dealing with psychological effects of stress and pain persistence.
It is important to note that education or information alone isn’t enough to change behavior which is the key to pain management. This is where guided practice comes in. Guided practice allows use of the above information to ensure successful pain management. For instance, participants are expected to exercise to improve mobility, fitness and confidence in activity and movement. Individuals under persistent pain have the tendency to fear activity. This guideline exists to tackle this fear.
Other guidelines on guided practice touch on reducing medication use and relying on aids to manage pain. This guideline is achievable with repetitive exercise done in a timed manner that increases routine steadily over time. Another guideline on guided practice touches on elaboration, identification, and challenging of beliefs and biases related to activity and pain. This guideline involves the use of cognitive therapeutic methods to manage pain.
Another guideline is the use of rest, sleep, and relaxation skills as the foundation for control methods on attention. This guideline is intended at managing pain without using medication. The last guideline in guided practice that will be discussed here is communication skills improvement with friends, family, and others (i.e. health care professionals and colleagues). The intention of this guideline is obvious, i.e. communication is an important factor in pain management.
In summary, it is important to note that the above pain management guidelines are not the only guidelines. They are, however, adequate enough to act as a guide.