The History of Pain Management

The History of Pain Management

Pain is, unfortunately, an avoidable part of life, including everything from skinned knees in childhood to chronic back pain as an adult. The body sends pain signals to protect you from danger and alert you that something is wrong.

The intensity of the pain signal determines how much pain affects your quality of life. For example, a short burst of pain from stubbing your toe or touching a hot pan can subside after a few minutes. However, other things like chronic disease or physical issues can result in lasting pain that overshadows everything else in life.

The topic of pain is one that many doctors are looking to solve. Unfortunately, while pain medications may provide temporary relief, they don’t get to the root problems causing chronic pain.

Pain Management Considerations

Over the years, doctors have tried various methods to assist patients with pain management. Each patient is unique, which is why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for every situation.

It’s easy to pop a pill so you can feel well enough to get through the day. But there can be serious health consequences from overusing pain medication.

The opioid crisis is an example of why dependence on pain medication can lead to negative results. For a while, society relied on opioid medications because of their effectiveness in blocking pain signals in the brain. But the overuse of these prescriptions led to bigger problems with addiction.

History of Pain Management

It’s interesting to learn more about the history of pain management – and see how far we’ve come today with the modern technology and resources that are now available.

Patients are empowered when working with pain management doctors since many options exist to alleviate or eliminate pain. Here is an overview of the history the medical industry has followed to reach the point where we are today.

Where it Started: 1600s

The 1600s is where early documentation shows the use of substances to manage pain. Doctors were prescribing the use of opium for pain relief.

Even though pain management techniques had been used in the past, this period of time was when medical professionals started systemizing their recommendations to support patients with pain management.

New Pain Management Options: 1800s

The introduction of chloroform and ether happened in the 1800s, primarily used for making patients unconscious during surgical procedures.

This discovery enabled doctors to provide better results through surgery without the patient bearing the pain during the surgery. As a result, doctors had the option to perform more complex procedures, which had an undeniable change in the medical industry.

The use of these substances was controversial at the time. There were questions about the ethics of making a person unconscious and allowing doctors to perform procedures. Another concern at the time was whether pain relief would slow the healing process.

Pain Management vs. Addictions: 1900s

During the 1900s, doctors started using prescriptions such as heroin and morphine to help patients with pain management.

Even though these solutions were effective for immediate relief, a bigger concern started surfacing. Medical professionals were weighing the benefits of pain management vs. the risk of addictions.

The 1900s was a time where pain management changed. Previously, pain management was only considered for acute situations, such as making a patient comfortable on their deathbed or after surgery or an injury.

Previously, society condemned people with chronic pain as drug abusers or delusional. But doctors started shifting this perspective and started looking at different solutions to alleviate pain so people could experience a better quality of life.

Increased Focus on Pain Management: 1940s

Pain management gained a greater focus in the 1940s and 1950s because there were increasing numbers of disabled veterans who needed treatments and support.

Since that time, medical professionals have been continuing to dial in the optimal dosages while also finding complementary pain management treatments to reduce the patient’s dependence on medications.

Pain as a Field of Medicine: 1960s

The 1960s was the time when a new pain management field of medicine was established.

By the 1970s, “Pain” was a research journal explicitly created for pain, and an association was formed: the “International Association for the Study of Pain.”

Opioid Campaign: 1980s

The widespread use of opioids started in the 1980s after several pain specialists determined there was a low risk of addiction using opioid medications. As a result, there was a big trend towards increasing the use of prescription pain medications for long-term pain management.

The pharmaceutical industry backed this 20-year campaign, telling doctors they could prescribe opioids more freely. Unfortunately, the push to use opioid drugs turned into a crisis as more and more patients became addicted to these prescriptions.

The Complexity of Pain Management

Even though we have many more pain management options available in our modern world, chronic pain continues to be one of the most challenging conditions to manage.

Not only do doctors need to assist patients with immediate relief, but it’s just as important to get to the root of the problems causing these chronic issues.

Pain signals and responses vary depending on the condition and the patient’s unique circumstances. As a result, it can take multiple tries to find the right solutions that work on an ongoing basis.

Modern Pain Management Strategies

Today, we live in a fantastic time due to the advances in the medical industry. As a result, primary care physicians have a general idea of managing pain, but patients can receive specialty care through pain management centers.

Interdisciplinary pain teams can provide patients with holistic, comprehensive tools to treat the root of the problem rather than cover it up.

These clinics focus on pain management specifically, offering solutions for a variety of conditions. Patients often seek services from pain management centers when they need targeted pain relief in specific parts of the body.

Schedule a Pain Management Consultation

At our pain management clinic, our goal is to help patients step away from the “prescription culture.”

While there are times when pain medications are useful and necessary, too many people assume that drugs are their only option for pain management. We are changing this perspective by offering other effective solutions for short-term and long-term pain reduction.

Are you struggling with chronic pain? Or, do you need immediate relief after an acute accident or injury? Our team is just a phone call away.

Schedule a consultation so we can discuss available treatment options, such as injections, nerve blocks, radiofrequency, and more. These minimally invasive treatments are helpful for patients who are looking for solutions to decrease medication usage.

Kentuckiana Pain Specialists provide comprehensive solutions and full-service pain management support. If you are located in or near Louisville, Kentucky, then reach out to schedule a consultation. Call us at (502) 995-4004.

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