Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Can The ASAP’s services lead to addiction?
No. As a procedural-based and collaborative consultation service, we offer non-habit-forming treatments and medication recommendations. If you have concerns about medication dependence, feel free to speak with your primary care physician and your pain management specialist.
Will I be unconscious during treatment?
Most procedures performed in The ASAP are quick, relatively painless, and require only local anesthesia. Your pain management physician will discuss each step in the procedure, including the anesthetics you’ll receive and any necessary fasting or preparation, prior to your treatment. In certain circumstances, intravenous conscious sedation may be offered.
What treatments does The ASAP offer?
The ASAP offers procedural-based and collaborative services. That means we offer unique outpatient pain management therapies at The ASAP, and work cooperatively with your primary care physician and other support staff to address your specific medication and rehabilitation issues.
Some procedures offered at The ASAP include:
- Injection treatments: Local anesthetics, with or without cortisone-like medicines, can be injected in or around nerves or into joints. These may act to reduce swelling, irritation, muscle spasms or abnormal nerve transmission that can cause pain.
- Electrical stimulation: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is the most common form of electrical stimulation. It is not painful, and does not require needles. During TENS, a small battery-operated device is used to stimulate nerve fibers through the skin to reduce pain. In some cases, electrical stimulation of acupuncture points is also performed.
- Surgical intervention: The ASAP offers a wide range of outpatient surgical procedures to treat various conditions.
- Acupuncture: The ASAP has a certified acupuncturist on staff for patients who may benefit from this treatment.
- Botox: Botox isn’t just for wrinkles. At The ASAP, we use Botox injections to treat headaches and torticolis (stiff neck).
The ASAP’s staff will work collaboratively with:
- Your Primary Care Physician: Instead of prescribing medication at The ASAP, we work with your own physician to tailor the type, dosage and frequency of your medication. This reduces confusion and prevents medication conflicts, while keeping your whole care team “on the same page”.
- Physical Therapists: Some patients benefit from various forms of physical therapy. In many cases, increasing core strength can reduce strain on the back and other sore muscles. Learning better body mechanics can lessen your chance of aggravating certain conditions. For those with limited mobility or intense pain, Sturdy Memorial’s Physical Therapy Department offers Aquatherapy, a very low-impact method of stretching and strengthening muscle.
- Medical Specialists: If your pain results from a chronic medical condition, such as Multiple Sclerosis, you may be referred to a specialist in that area for additional consultation and support.
- Additional Support Staff: Chronic pain is a complex medical condition that can have emotional, psychological and social consequences. The ASAP’s pain management experts are connected to a network of pain psychologists, pain therapists and other specialists who can help you cope.
Can doctors at The ASAP find the cause of my pain?
Pain specialists are skilled at treating pain, but their expertise also enables them to diagnose its cause. By performing a physical examination, taking your medical history and examining applicable test results, our pain management physicians can help pinpoint the cause of your chronic pain, and develop a treatment plan.
Can The ASAP help me?
The ASAP offers various treatments for a wide range of pain sufferers. If you live with chronic pain, you might benefit from our services. Discuss pain management options with your primary care physician. For more information on our services, please contact The ASAP at 501-227-0184.
What are the most common problems that result in chronic pain?
The ASAP sees a wide range of chronic pain patients. The following are the most common reasons patients seek treatment at The ASAP:
- Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Muscle Pain (Myalgia)
- Nerve Pain
- Postherpetic Neuralgia (Shingles)
- Leg Pain
- Arm Pain
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
What is the difference between chronic pain and acute pain?
Acute pain lasts only a short time, and is often related to an injury or illness. Acute pain should lessen naturally during the healing process.
Chronic pain, however, is an ongoing condition. Many people experience chronic pain in the neck, back or head. Chronic pain can also be caused by nerve damage, musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, or illness. Typically, the treatments that work for acute pain are not effective against chronic pain. The ASAP staff develop individually-tailored treatment plans for each patient to best manage their long-term condition.
For many, chronic pain is a part of daily life. At The ASAP, we understand the unique needs of pain patients. We’ll work with you, your primary care physician, and other appropriate support staff to help you reduce and manage your chronic pain.
When would I see a pain management specialist and what conditions does a pain specialist treat?
You would see a pain management specialist to help manage chronic postoperative pain, as well as pain from disease (e.g., cancer), injury (e.g., compression fracture), or painful conditions (migraines, fibromyalgia, etc.). Other conditions that cause chronic pain include reflex sympathetic dystrophy (disease of the nervous system), peripheral nerve injury (causalgia), inflammation of the spinal nerves (arachnoiditis), chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and phantom limb pain.
Some pain specialists take a multidisciplinary approach, per the guidelines issued by the American Pain Society and the North American Spine Society. These doctors will recommend not only pain medication but physical therapy and mental health professionals to help the patient with the emotional and mental effects of chronic pain.
Treatment options may include oral or injected medications, nerve stimulation, physical therapy and counseling. Pain management specialists may also be trained in nontraditional forms of pain management, such as acupuncture.
Certain medications for treating pain include narcotic painkillers and long-acting morphine, as well as anti-inflammatories and steroidal anti-inflammatories. Other medications include anti-epileptics such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica), or a class of antidepressants known as SNRIs (selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) that includes duloxetine (Cymbalta). Some doctors may incorporate integrated medicine, or practice rational poly-pharmacy, which is the use of a well- targeted combination of medications.
What is chronic pain?
Unlike acute pain, which hurts and then subsides, chronic pain is constant and persists for weeks, months or years. Chronic pain may also increase over time, or increase and then decrease back to its baseline acute or chronic pain. There tends to be an initial trigger, such as disease or injury. Common chronic pain complaints include cancer pain, lower back pain, joint pain, abdominal pain and headaches.
Most chronic pain sufferers tend to be older. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, more than 76 million Americans suffer from it. Chronic pain often causes a financial and emotional burden for the patient due to costly medical bills and taking time off from work. Chronic pain costs the U.S. workforce $1.2 billion a year in lost productivity.
What is a pain management specialist?
Pain management specialists are licensed medical professionals who use various approaches to prevent, evaluate and treat acute or chronic pain disorders. Pain management specialists may be trained in a number of specialties, including orthopedic surgery, neurology, physiatry (physical medicine and rehabilitation) and anesthesiology, or may work alongside surgeons.