Pain management, also known as pain medicine, draws on many disciplines in science and the healing arts to systematically study pain, its prevention, evaluation, diagnosis and treatment, as well as the rehabilitation of painful disorders.
In spine and musculoskeletal cases, pain management serves a variety of purposes. Pain management is usually distinguished from surgical treatment.
Pain management and the techniques it uses may be employed as follows:
To help identify the source of a patient's back pain
As an alternative to surgery, as part of an aggressive conservative (nonsurgical) care program
To help determine the areas to be addressed surgically
To help rehabilitate the patient after surgery
For patients after surgery to cope with residual or recalcitrant pain
Pain management uses a wide variety of techniques to address pain and painful disorders. The scientific basis for these approaches ranges from those that are completely without experimental support to those whose effectiveness has been well demonstrated in clinical trials.
In view of the diverse uses and methods of pain management and pain medicine, an overview of this fast-developing field is needed.