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Frequently Asked Questions
- What can I expect from the Pain Center?
- What are the advantages of being treated at the Pain Center?
- What are some nonsurgical ways to help relieve head and neck pain?
- What can I do personally to get relief from pain?
- What can you do for migraine headaches?
- What about alternative medicine treatments?
- How can I arrange to see a doctor at the Pain Center?
- Anesthesia tends to make me sick. How can I avoid this for my upcoming surgery?
- I have heard that certain mental techniques can help me block out pain. What are they?
- How do chiropractic treatments ease pain?
We are a chronic and acute pain center made up of board-certified healthcare professionals with special training in the management of pain. At the Center, we offer a multidisciplinary approach. That is, physicians from different fields of medicine work as a team in providing care to the individual patient. Included are anesthesiologists, internists, physical medicine specialists and psychiatrists. We also have dentists specializing in head, neck and facial pain and psychologists specializing in behavioral medicine. Physicians at the center work in partnership with your referring doctor to ensure continuity of care. Our goal is to help ease your pain and suffering so that you can return to work and a live fuller, more productive life.
The most important advantages are:
- Patients receive treatment from a renowned staff of doctors whose efforts are devoted exclusively to easing pain
- Cedars-Sinai doctors have access to state-of-the-art equipment for diagnosing the origin and causes of pain and for developing treatment plans
- All hospital resources (such as X-rays, lab tests and screenings) are available to the Pain Center's patients, which ensures convenient, one-stop healthcare
- Ongoing research studies being conducted at Cedars-Sinai ensure that the newest techniques and discoveries move quickly from the lab patient care
The Pain Center uses the following therapies to ease head and neck pain:
- Pharmacotherapy (medications)
- Physical therapy
- Splint therapy (applying a device to prevent the head and/or neck from moving)
- Behavioral therapy (psychiatry and psychology)
- Nerve blocks (injection to deaden nerves)
In treating pain, doctors regard the patient as a valuable member of the medical team. Without the patient's full and focused cooperation throughout the entire process of diagnosis and treatment, there is little chance of success.
In recent years, there have been major advances in migraine therapy due to better understanding of how these headaches work, as well as the availability of new drug treatments. The choice of drugs used to treat migraines depends on many factors. Other non-medication techniques have also been found to be helpful, including ice, biofeedback, relaxation techniques and acupuncture. Doctors may also conduct behavioral assessments to measure the patient's ability to cope with anxiety and distress. Pain specialists also encourage the patient to lead a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition, adequate fluids, sufficient sleep and exercise since these have a positive effect on the relief of pain.
In some cases, alternative medicine treatments are suggested to help the patient exercise a measure of control over the pain. They include the use of herbs, acupuncture, acupressure and chiropractic sessions.
You must get a referral from your doctor to be seen at the center. Exceptions are patients suffering from head and neck pain and those seeking chiropractic help. These patients may simply call the Pain Center and request an appointment.
Before the procedure, inform your doctor and the surgeon about this tendency so that they can perhaps select different anesthetic drugs for your surgery.
A significant component in treating chronic, acute and cancer-related pain is behavior related. Medical services and techniques in this field of medicine can empower patients and families by teaching them skills to reduce and manage pain, minimize the use of drugs and help control unwanted side effects from various procedures. Techniques include:
- Behavioral medicine evaluations
- Behavioral and cognitive pain management
- Biofeedback and applied psychophysiology
- Presurgical evaluations
- Surgery preparation programs
- Pharmacotherapy consultations
- Individual physician consultations
Hands-on manipulation by a chiropractor to readjust or realign a joint or to apply massage techniques has been used successfully in some cases to alleviate pain, especially in the lower back and neck. Chiropractic therapy has also been found to be helpful in easing headache pain.