Is There a Difference between Pain Management and Pain Recovery?

Pain management refers to the conventional, medicalized approach to treating pain. Pain recovery is about examining the biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual factors influencing the pain and the individual afflicted by it.

Pain Recovery: An Alternative to Pain Management

Pain management does sometimes include less traditional and minimally invasive treatment modalities, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage and hydrotherapy, among others. These less invasive treatments, known as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), are also commonly used as part of an alternative approach to chronic pain that we call pain recovery.

Pain management is not solution-focused and, at its core, cannot be considered real recovery. By reinforcing the illusion that pain can be eliminated or controlled, the pain management process can often increase suffering. With most chronic pain conditions, the pain may wax and wane, but it rarely goes away altogether. Therefore, the goal of eliminating pain altogether is, in the great majority of cases, simply not realistic.

Pain recovery is an alternative to pain management that encompasses the mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of human beings, in addition to physical functioning. Clients give up the quest to have pain disappear and learn ways to accept the existence of pain, develop the skills to live with it, and improve functioning. This approach is designed to help those afflicted with chronic pain address their pain in healthier ways and gain freedom from thinking, feeling, and acting like victims, without the long-term use of opiates or other habit-forming substances.

Chronic pain is like a smoke detector that goes on and becomes stuck in the “on” mode, continuously sounding a harrowing alarm at high volume. Pain recovery distinguishes between the actual pain and the suffering it causes and focuses on achieving relief from suffering. Pain is unavoidable; suffering is not. Suffering is triggered by a spectrum of distressing emotions associated with pain. Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM, Medical Director of Las Vegas Recovery Center is a nationally recognized expert on chronic pain and addiction as co-occurring disorders. Dr. Pohl is the principal developer of the pain recovery model at LVRC. He views suffering—the cognitive and emotional responses to pain that perpetuate and exacerbate it—as the true target of intervention.

For more information on pain management vs. pain recovery, please call Las Vegas Recovery Center today.

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