|McLaren Greater Lansing
2720 S. Washington Ave.
Lansing, MI 48910-2800
There is no "one size fits all" definition for pain,
says Pain Management Center Director Joel Bez, D.O.
"Pain is a very personal experience," says McLaren Greater Lansing's Pain Management Center Medical Director Joel Bez, D.O. "On the first visit, patients complete an intake form to try to help us understand the location, the intensity, the sensation and duration of their pain. We want to understand their pain from the first time they felt pain until right now. We follow that up with a complete medical history and physical exam, taking note of whatever information the referring physician has provided. We are not a walk-in clinic; patients must be referred by their primary care physician or a specialist. They make us part of "their" team in helping diagnose the source and medical nature of the pain, and come up with an effective pain treatment plan.
"Treating pain demands a team approach. There's no one definition for pain, and we believe in treating the whole person. Pain affects a patient physically, neurologically, and psychologically. Getting a patient's pain under control is not just writing a prescription for painkillers. We usually begin with a fairly conservative approach, which may mean non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. Excessive weight adds to a patient's pain, so we may ask a nutritionist to consult with the patient and us. Pain tolerance and their ability to cope with life's stressors may call for a psychiatric consultation.
"After the initial evaluation, we have patients return in a week or so to see if our initial pain control plan is working. We'll fine tune the patient's pain care plan and see them two or three times over the next month. Depending on how well they respond, we set up a schedule for follow-up visits so we keep a close watch on their progress.
"More aggressive pain control strategies can range from injection therapy (nerve blocks), electrical stimulation devises, or surgical referrals. We see everything from low back pain, to herniated discs and nerve damage from diseases like diabetes, alcoholism and sarcoidosis to immunne system pain issues from diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus. We do interventional and palliative pain control for cancer.
"Let's face it. A patient in acute pain focuses on their pain, not the injury. An individual with chronic pain has trouble finding the energy to really participate in the activities that give life "meaning." Pain management has become an essential tool for healing. At McLaren Greater Lansing's Pain Center, we have physicians from many disciplines, all in one location. We're committed to making a patient's pain go away, or provide pain control measures so a patient's focus shifts toward living a full and complete life."
(Note: McLaren Greater Lansing's Pain Management Center began in July 1995. A physician's referral is required.)
Bez's Top 10 List of Why Pain Persists
- Acute injury
- Repetitive body stress
- Exercise - lack of stretching, overdoing an activity
- Immune system diseases (Fibromyalgia, Lupus)
- Cancer (Reaction to chemotherapy, radiation, tumor growth)
- Nerve destruction
- Personal pain intolerance (pain affects attitude; attitude affects pain)
Dr. Bez' Pain Management Tools
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen)
- Directed exercises and physical therapy
- Behavioral therapies (counseling, relaxation techniques, meditation, biofeedback)
- Nerve Blocks (injection of local anesthetics into certain nerve bundles)
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (exterior units that deliver pulses to painful areas)
- Implantable Devices (delivering low voltage electrical current as a pain suppressant)
- Nutritional Counseling (for weight reduction to reduce stress on painful areas)
- Opiate derivatives for pain control
- Antidepressants (particularly for headache and neuropathic pain)
- Anticonvulsants (for treating very sensitive nerve fibers)
Carol S. tries nerve block for pain
Here's why Carol S. was referred to McLaren Greater Lansing's Pain Management Center:
"I have degenerative arthritis of the spine. Part of it I think is long hours on my feet as a hairdresser. The last six months I've had to cut way down on the number of clients. I can't do everyday things like mow the lawn. I've had to give up going to stock car races because I can't sit for long periods of time. I've been depressed all the time because it seems like I can't do anything without stabbing pain. I've tried pain medication and it wears off right away. I want a normal life again."
The Pain Center team, after reviewing Carol's case, recommended an epidural nerve block every other week for eight weeks. She gets the injection in her lower back. The team also recommended a numbing pain patch to provide extra pain relief. Carol's case will be monitored at every visit to assess the effectiveness of this treatment plan.