Anesthesiology – Pain Management

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What is anesthesia? — Anesthesia is a term that doctors use for different types of medicine they give people before surgery or another procedure. These medicines work by making sure that you do not:
• Feel pain
• Move during the surgery or procedure
• Remember the surgery or procedure

What are the different types of anesthesia? — There are 3 main types of anesthesia:
• Local – This type of anesthesia uses medicine to numb a small part of your body so you don’t feel pain. It can be given as a cream, gel, or spray on the skin. It can also be given by an injection (shot) into the skin. You might be awake when you get local anesthesia.

Doctors give local anesthesia before minor surgery, such as a skin or breast biopsy. A biopsy is when a doctor takes a tiny sample of tissue using a needle.

• Regional – This type of anesthesia blocks pain in a large area of your body, such as an arm, leg, or the lower half of your body. One type is called a “spinal block.” The doctor puts a small needle in your lower back. The needle goes into the fluid around your spinal cord, which is the bundle of nerves that runs down your back. He or she then injects medicines that block pain and relax your muscles so you do not move. It can be used for surgery done on your legs or inside your belly.

Another type is an “epidural.” The doctor uses a needle to put a small tube (called a “catheter”) into your lower back, near the nerves around the spinal cord. Some women get epidurals during childbirth. Other people get them for a surgical procedure or to control pain after surgery.

If you get regional anesthesia, you might be awake. Or you might get medicines to make you relax and feel sleepy, called “sedatives.” Sedatives are given through a small tube put into a vein, called
an “IV.”

• General – This type of anesthesia makes you unconscious so you can’t feel, see, or hear anything during surgery. Some of the medicines are given through an IV. Others are gases that you breathe through a mask that is placed over your mouth and nose. You might also get a breathing tube, which is a tube that goes down the throat and into the lungs. The other end is attached to a machine that helps with breathing. A specialist doctor called an “anesthesiologist” gives general anesthesia.

Pain management (also called pain medicine; algiatry) is a branch of medicine employing an interdisciplinary approach for easing the suffering and improving the quality of life of those living with pain. The typical pain management team includes medical practitionersclinical psychologistsphysiotherapistsoccupational therapists, and nurse practitioners. Pain sometimes resolves promptly once the underlying trauma or pathology has healed, and is treated by one practitioner, with drugs such as analgesics and (occasionally) anxiolytics. Effective management of long term pain, however, frequently requires the coordinated efforts of the management team.
Medicine treats injury and pathology to support and speed healing; and treats distressing symptoms such as pain to relieve suffering during treatment and healing. When a painful injury or pathology is resistant to treatment and persists, when pain persists after the injury or pathology has healed, and when medical science cannot identify the cause of pain, the task of medicine is to relieve suffering. Treatment approaches to long term pain include pharmacologic measures, such as analgesicstricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants, interventional procedures, physical therapy, physical exercise, application of ice and/or heat, and psychological measures, such as biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy.

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Jeffrey Friedel

Jeffrey Friedel

Jeffrey M. Friedel, M.D., Associate Medical Director, is a cardiologist who specializes in the field of cardiovascular medicine. He is...

Jon Tucker

Jon Tucker

Jon B. Tucker, M.D., CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Tucker Independent Medical Experts, Inc. concluded a 25-year career in...