Doctors can recommend all sorts of treatments for dealing with pain. From over-the-counter analgesics to prescription pain medications to physical therapy, there isn’t just a single way to relieve pain. But when pain is chronic, management often takes priority over relief. And when this is the case, restoring function is a crucial element in effective treatment.

At Lone Star Pain Medicine in Weatherford, TX, restoring lost function is a stated goal. Lone Star doctors are not content to simply write prescriptions and send patients on their way. They want to help improve a patient’s quality of life. They want to restore well-being as much as possible. Function is a big part of both.

The Pain-Function Cycle

If you are not sure why restoring function is so crucial to effective pain management, consider your own experiences with pain. You have probably sprained an ankle at some point in your life. How did you handle it?

If you are like most people, an over-the-counter pain reliever and rest was your preferred treatment. You stayed off the ankle in order to give it time to heal. As the pain subsided and your ankle got stronger, you gradually began using it more.

Chronic Pain Is Different

While this sort of thing works fine with most types of acute pain, things are different with chronic pain. Imagine that same sprained ankle never improving. Imagine still feeling the pain six or 12 months down the road.

Chronic pain tends to create a cycle that leads to lost function. A person suffering from chronic pain will avoid using that part of the body in order to not make the pain worse. If this continues long enough, loss of function will kick in. As more function is lost, the pain actually increases. More pain leads to more loss of function, and so on.

The pain-function cycle is easily observed in people with chronic back pain. Their pain prevents them from engaging in activities that require standing, walking, etc. As a result, they lose muscle mass in the lower back, abdomen, and legs. Less muscle mass means less strength and support, which ultimately creates more back pain.

Restoring Function Restores Well-Being

Lone Star doctors explain that restoring function restores well-being by both reducing pain and giving patients a new outlook on life. A person who regains function also regains some semblance of normalcy. Likewise, getting back to a more normal life improves a person’s outlook and reduces pain perception.

The takeaway here is that the pain-function cycle actually works in both directions. A negative cycle leads to more pain and less function. A positive cycle leads to more function and less pain. As such, pain management doctors stress the importance of regaining function with their patients.

Function and Activity Are Linked

Restoring lost function has benefits that go beyond just pain relief. Consider that function and activity are linked. If a patient with chronic back pain regains function to the extent of becoming active again, he also stands a greater chance of improving his overall health through increased activity.

Remaining active can be immensely helpful in minimizing the pain experience. It can also improve a patient’s outlook on life. As previously stated, an improved outlook can go a long way toward helping relieve pain as well.

Effective pain management requires offering more than prescription medications. Pain management doctors normally take a holistic approach that includes restoring lost function, improving a patient’s outlook on life, and improving overall well-being. When the holistic approach is successful, patients enjoy both pain relief and a higher quality of life.