LCA Pain Clinic - Cedar Rapids, Iowa (319) 743-7301   

- Optimize pain control.
- Improve the quality
  of life for our patients
  with chronic pain.

Pain Management Questions & Answers

Why are doctors who specialize in pain management often Anesthesiologists?

Anesthesiologists' responsibilities are to safely maintain vital functions of the body and to relieve pain. Many of the techniques they use to make operations painless can be used to relieve other types of pain. After medical school many of today's anesthesiologists go on to study pain management during their four years of anesthesiology residency. Many still receive even more post-graduate education to become pain management specialists. With this education, they are able to work with other physicians, nurses and therapists to tailor a pain management program to effectively treat individual patients.


What is the difference between Acute Pain and Chronic Pain?

Acute pain is pain of a short, limited duration. It is usually the result of an injury, surgery or illness. Acute pain often goes away with the healing process. Chronic pain continues for longer than 3 months, despite the healing of the injury.


Can pain management physicians find the cause of my pain?

Pain specialists are able to help diagnose the source of pain and treat it. They will conduct a physical examination and review your medical records and analyze your description of the pain.

Sometimes supplemental diagnostic studies can be helpful to pinpoint the source of pain. These tests include questionnaires, x-rays, skin temperature monitoring, and local anesthetic tests.


Are there psychological effects of chronic pain?

Yes, chronic pain may cause feelings of anger, sadness, hopelessness and even despair. It can alter one's personality, disrupt sleep, interfere with work and relationships and even have an effect on other family members. A treatment program, including psychological support, may be what is needed to manage chronic pain.


What types of problems can be addressed by pain management?

Problems commonly treated with pain management include low back pain, cancer pain, shingles, sympathetic dystrophy, nerve problems, neck pain and arthritis. For a more complete listing, see Conditions Treated.


What are some treatments for pain?

There are many varied treatments available for pain, thanks to the advancement of modern medicine. Since the degree of pain varies among patients, your treatment plan will be tailored to your needs. Treatment may include one approach, or a combination of medications, therapies and procedures.
These include:


Pain Killers - Narcotic painkillers are often used to treat acute pain or cancer pain.

Anti-inflammatory drugs - Aspirin-like drugs are the most commonly used medications. They not only reduce swelling and irritation, but also relieve pain.

Anti-depressants - Originally only used to treat depression, studies show that these medications can alleviate pain in certain situations, as well as having the added benefit of helping patients sleep at night.

Anti-seizure medications - These may help relieve certain types of pain by reducing abnormal electrical discharges in damaged nerves.


Injection treatments - Local anesthetics and steroids can be injected around nerves or into joints. These may act to reduce swelling, irritation, muscle spasms or abnormal nerve transmissions that cause pain.

Electrical stimulation - Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is the most common form of electrical stimulation. TENS consists of a small, battery-operated device that stimulates nerve fibers through the skin to diminish pain.

Physical Therapy - Exercise, whirlpool, ultrasound, massage and manipulation are some of the treatments performed by physical therapy.

Relaxation - Training in various forms of relaxation therapy are often used to relieve pain, reduce muscle spasms and diminish stress.

Surgery - When necessary, surgical treatments may be recommended.


How do I make an appointment?

New patients to our clinics must be referred by a health care provider. The physician's office must call to arrange your first appointment so that information regarding your prior care can be obtained. Copies of all relevant medical records and tests (especially x-rays and MRI's) should be sent prior to the visit or with you. Referring physician offices may schedule initial appointments by calling our administrative office at (319) 743-7301.