Typically, your Pain Management Team consists of your primary care physician, your clinical nurse practitioner and your health psychologist or medical specialist-assistant who is trained to walk you through the sequence of stages to help you find a most effective pain management lifestyle.
Your primary care physician is most responsible for serving as the team
captain who communicates and coordinates with other specialists to make sure you are being followed responsibly to help you lower your chronic pain over time. That’s a large task for a medical professional who has limited time given the number of patients seen daily, the demands for posting all encounters in electronic health records, including authorizations for certain tests, like x-rays and blood work, authorizations to see certain specialists, and authorizations for medications and prescription refills. If this isn’t enough demands in a day’s work, the primary care physician still has to collaborate with one’s colleagues in the practice, monitor how the practice is doing with the medical groups- practice administrator and talk with higher-level management staff who demand even greater expectations to fulfill administrative responsibilities like medical committee involvement and statistical reviews.
The same is true for the clinical nurse practitioner who may have more time to talk with you about your chronic pain but still has high, patient caseloads per day, similar requirement for electronic health record recordings, authorization requests and for collaborating with the primary care physician about specific needs of each patient.
You can understand why the medical community is overwhelmed and stressed out to the max. They can burn out as easily as anyone in other professions.
This is why the health psychologist or medical specialist-assistant is a critical team member to help guide you towards living a healthier, pain-less lifestyle. The responsibilities of this trained, team member, include the following:
1. Help determine your perspective of your chronic pain and evaluate with you the ways you are trying to deal with it.
2. Teach you about how to measure your pain levels over time using the 5 pain scales.
3. Help determine how motivated you are to change your ways to reduce pain levels.This implies helping you identify the advantages and disadvantages of continuing to use, or changing, your present ways to reduce your pain levels.
4. Help you grieve or mourn the loss of the way you were or would love to be before having chronic pain.
5. Help you identify how ongoing pain reduction amd maintenance is to be viewed as a challenge, not a catastrophe.
6. Help you choose a pain management lifestyle by identifying your individualized SMART goals and subgoals and specific ways you choose to reduce your chronic pain over time.
7. Serve as a check-in coach to monitor how you are doing over time. This includes your learning triggers to prevent relapses.
8. Collaborate with the two other pain management team members to review your progress and coordinate your need for specific authorization requests.
While your pain management team serves as the most critical, medical component to help you reduce your chronic pain, the major responsibilities rest primary with you and your advocate to make sure you are fully committed and getting the best treatment you deserve.