Box Butte General Hospital (BBGH) is committed to working with you to manage your discomfort. One way to reach this goal is improving communication between you the patient, and staff. BBGH has developed tools for better understanding of how your pain is affecting you, as well as methods for improving your level of pain.
This page will help you better understand how to communicate effectively with your health care team when either hospitalized, when in need of emergency care, or when visiting one of our pain management specialists.
The Functional Pain Scale pamphlet is designed to promote better communication between patients and medical staff. Acrobat Reader is required.
Pain Management Specialists
We all know what pain is, don't we? Most of the time pain is fleeting, something we can deal with. It may be hard to believe, but acute pain such as this is a good thing, clinically speaking. Acute pain is a message from our body telling us something is wrong. For example, without that signal, we wouldn't know to snatch our hand away from a hot flame, the result of which would be a much more severe injury. The human body is rife with vulnerable targets - nerves, bones, muscles, and joints to name a few - where pain tells us something is wrong and needs attention.
Chronic pain is different. Chronic pain is something that persists longer than the time it takes for natural healing associated with a particular type of injury or disease process. Chronic pain lasts more than three months and doesn't go away, often requiring intervention of some sort. The most common example would be back pain. Other examples would be leg, neck, or trigeminal nerve pain (along the jawline from the ear). Anything from sleeping on a bad mattress to stomach ulcers can cause chronic pain. Another dimension of chronic pain is the fact that, though it may begin with a physical injury or illness, it can develop a psychological dimension once the physical problem is cured or heals.
Some pain management specialists focus on medicinal management of the patient, while others focus on interventional management, (especially in the area of chronic back pain), using procedures such as epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, and other procedures to provide relief for the patient. In cases where epidural steroid injections are recommended, relief can be relatively instantaneous, or over a week or so depending on the patient's pathology. If no relief is found, the pain management specialist re-evaluates and may re-inject if needed. The main purpose of chronic pain management is to provide relief at a much lower cost and much less invasiveness than surgery.
Acute pain is another part of the pain management specialist's regime. Acute pain is sudden pain from fractures or other injuries. In those cases, the specialist may again use injections, such as a local anesthetic, for immediate relief, or a nerve block, which provides relief for about 24 hours. If the pain is still acute after that time, the specialist may re-inject, if called for.
Providers trained in pain management come from all fields of medicine. Most often, pain fellowship trained practitioners are anesthetists or anesthesiologists, neurologists, physiatrists, or psychiatrists. Pain management at Box Butte General Hospital includes specialists who treat both acute and chronic pain:
Appointments can be made through referrals from your primary care provider.