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What's Your Game Plan?

Whenever two football teams play a game, each of the teams has a strategy. The same goes for baseball teams, basketball teams, tennis players, those who play poker and other card games, chess, checkers, and so many other things. In medicine, a treatment algorithm helps guide practitioners in treating various medical conditions. The common denominator in all of the above is strategy.

Football play strategy
Image source: Wikimedia

You can use this same kind of thinking to battle chronic pain issues.  That is why it's so important to have many different pain management tools available.  Every individual experiences pain differently--so knowing yourself and what to try first is a good place to start. The next step is to have a "plan B" so that you have a second treatment option on hand if your first option doesn't quite do the job.  From there you may want to add subsequent steps to your treatment plan.

Multimodal pain management is highly recommended for people with chronic pain.  The beauty of this is that not every step in your treatment plan has to be medication.  Here's an example:

Mary realizes that her knee is aching.  Mary has osteoarthritis in that knee and it's going to be there unless at some point she opts for joint replacement surgery.  Mary  has pre-decided that first step in her treatment plan involves placing an ice pack on her knee since that seems to give her great relief most of the time.  An hour later, Mary still feels some discomfort in her knee joint.  So she goes on to step two of her plan---and in her case, that means she's going out for a walk followed by some stretching.  Later that day, Mary notices that her knee is more comfortable.  Mary knows that if the pain continues after these first two steps in the plan, she needs to take some acetaminophen to achieve comfort....and so on.

You are the best person to devise your own pain management strategy.  It does help to talk to those who are involved in your medical care--doctors, nurses, physical therapists, chiropractors, pharmacists, and the like for some ideas to help you succeed.  The key is to prepare a plan for action ahead of time so you are prepared when the need arises!


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