Imagine a tooth ache — a really bad toothache. Now imagine that you couldn’t get any relief from the constantly throbbing pain of that toothache. You not only feel the pain all day and all night; you’re also aware of the pain 24/7. Welcome to the world of “chronic pain” – where an involuntary, unrelenting, and long-term exposure to the sensation of pain dominates your life.
“Chronic pain is a serious and debilitating condition that can wreak havoc on a patient’s quality of life,” says Emidio Novembre, DO, of Northern Pain Management, a department of Northern Hospital of Surry County. But individuals need not suffer, he adds, because the medical community is now able to offer a wide variety of effective treatment protocols and coping mechanisms to help relieve both the physical and emotional symptoms of chronic pain.
“For optimal results, we treat the mind, body and spirit,” explains Dr. Novembre, an osteopathic physician. “The treatment of chronic pain requires a wholly integrated approach that focuses not only on the pain itself, but also on all associated clinical factors – such as anxiety, depression and, in some instances, addiction — that typically develop when dealing with continuous pain.”
According to Dr. Novembre, chronic pain can be caused by a wide variety of clinical conditions – including traumatic injury, nerve damage of unknown origin, post-surgical problems, and diseases such as cancer and fibromyalgia, to name a few. “But the common factor in chronic pain is the non-stop nature of the pain – which then frequently leads sufferers to experience feelings of hopelessness and depression,” he says.
The emotional burden of chronic pain is also felt by family members and friends – who may become distraught by their own feelings of inadequacy while trying to help their loved ones find relief. In addition, chronic pain sufferers who are employed are susceptible to frequent and/or prolonged absences from work – which may result in a meaningful loss of income and the financial stress that goes along with such a budgetary strain.
Help is available
“For individuals suffering from chronic pain, the most important thing they can do is go see their doctor – so that the problem can be diagnosed and treated appropriately,” emphasizes Dr. Novembre. Left untreated, he cautions, chronic pain becomes a vicious cycle – with the pain leading to depression; which, in turn, leads to even greater pain.
At Northern Pain Management, a team of board-certified specialists – including physicians, nurse practitioners, therapists, and a licensed clinical addictions specialist – meet with each patient to assess their needs and develop an individualized care program. “As needed, we can perform fluoroscopic-guided interventional pain-management procedures on site – many of which are performed under conscious sedation,” says Dr. Novembre. The program’s state-of-the-art facility also houses both a certified screening laboratory and full-service pharmacy.
In addition to medication and pain-management procedures, the team may recommend a full regimen of supplemental therapeutic sessions and self-help exercises to help quell the mental anguish and fatigue that is often experienced by sufferers of chronic pain. “Treatment is a two-way street – so we rely on the active participation of our patients to achieve the best outcomes,” says Dr. Novembre. To that end, patients are taught and encouraged to use proven self-help tactics – such as meditation, relaxation techniques, and mindfulness. “When there’s literally no “Off’ switch to pain, we help our patients create effective work-arounds that permit them to resume more satisfying and productive lives,” he explains.
“With over 100 years combined experience, we know that an integrated, comprehensive approach to healing is our most effective weapon against chronic pain,” says Dr. Novembre. “Over the past 14 years, we have seen and treated more than 15,000 patients – and nearly all have benefited significantly from our recommended treatment pathways.”
“We believe in offering top-quality procedures and techniques to create a care plan that will help patients live each day to the fullest,” he adds.
Northern’s Pain Management Program offers convenient locations in both Elkin and Mount Airy. For more information on any of the clinic’s programs call 336-835-5330.