Y Magazine

Oman Health: Managing Pain

Pain is ubiquitous, but you don’t need to curse your luck and get on with it silently forever. KIMS Oman Hospital explains how and why pain clinics could put a smile back on your face.

Pain’ is a very general term. As a matter of fact, the Oxford Dictionary defines pain as a physical suffering or discomfort caused by an illness or injury. But each one of us experiences some sort of pain occasionally.

It is a common problem that crops up in forms ranging from back pain to joint pain to headache, or something more severe like pain from cancer.

Pain is generally accepted as inevitable. People surrender to it and try to learn to live with it.

There is an absence of proper education and lack of awareness about it. This leads to a misuse of painkillers resulting in complications like gastritis, kidney failure, bone marrow depression and bleeding from the stomach or intestine which can be catastrophic.

Continuous suffering from chronic pain results in change of lifestyle, poor efficiency, dependency on others and medicines; ultimately leading to suffering in the whole family and mental disturbances like depression.

But is it necessary to suffer? Are there any alternatives?

The answer to that is: you must see a pain specialist if you continue to suffer from pain after a month of conservative treatment.

‘Pain Medicine’ is a specialty which deals with the management of all types of painful disease states, even long-standing pain, and ‘Pain Clinics’ are now assuming the role of an essential service as they meet a need unmet by any previously existing medical facility.

It is based on the conviction that the effective management of difficult pain conditions is possible only through well-coordinated efforts of a specialist possessing knowledge and skills to diagnose and treat physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioural, vocational and social aspects of chronic pain cost-effectively.

Interventional pain procedures can be performed with ease by pain physicians without anesthesia as outpatient or daycare procedures and produce immediate pain relief. The main advantages of them over both medicine and surgery are that they do not have side effects like medicines and are suitable for surgically unfit and debilitated patients. These procedures can be repeated safely, if required. Surgery for pain has now limited indications, and it is usually done as a last resort.

Dr Manjeet Singh, specialist – anesthesia – at KIMS Oman Hospital, says: “The ultimate goal is to provide relief and care to people suffering from pain. As the quality of life is restored, the patients increase their self-esteem and can live life as normal individuals. People with chronic pain should not suffer unnecessarily. They should consult a pain medicine specialist. The sooner your pain is managed, the better the overall results are.” ν