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Learning The Ins And Outs Of Chronic Pain

Pain. From a stubbed toe to a broken bone, we’ve all had to deal with pain in one form or another. But most of the time, it’s a temporary state; the pain eventually goes away, and you’re free to return to your daily grind unencumbered by its distractions.

But for a significant segment of the population, persistent chronic pain from an injury or other malady is an everyday fact of life. Many people continue to suffer under its yolk, but needlessly so; there is help out there.

At the Bar Harbour branch of the Massapequa Public Library, the North American Partners in Pain Management (NAPPM) recently held a public seminar and Q&A session; the purpose of which was to inform attendees about the ins and outs of chronic pain and how to properly advocate for themselves when it comes to seeking appropriate medical help for their conditions, according to NAPPM’s Mary Milano Carter.

“We’ve been doing these seminars for a few years now...this is actually our second time at the Massapequa Library,” she said. “We do these to get the word out about pain management, because a lot of people don’t know that groups like ours exist, and there are so many people who are in pain. The numbers are astounding, how many people have chronic or acute pain, and we can help them get better and back to functioning.”

The scope of pain in America is wide — over 75 million people suffer with pain; of that number, 50 million chronically (including nearly 10 million children), and 25 million experience acute pain from surgery or injury.

The focus of Carter’s seminar was about the correct way go about reporting needs and wants to a doctor, and to educate the public on the types of pain management options that are available to improve their lives.

“I talk about how to start a pain conversation...what your health care provider is going to be looking for and asking for, and teaching the public how to speak up and what to say and know what to bring to the provider to get proper pain treatment,” Carter said. “There about 12 pain management groups on Long Island...we’re a small community, and many providers don’t even know we exist, but there’s so much we can do to help people.”

Carter explained that pain management groups can help an afflicted person with a variety of non-surgical methods; anything from pain medication management, injections, nerve blocks, epidurals, implanted pumps and stimulators, and a whole host of other services that can help someone deal with their day-to-day lives without the specter of chronic pain hovering over them.

“A lot of older people believe in the myth that pain is just a part of aging, and that they should have pain as they get older, which is not true...you do not have to live with pain,” she said. “We’re becoming a geriatric society...a lot of us are aging, the Baby Boomers are getting older, and we’re getting aches and pains, old sports injuries have come up along with new injuries, and pain management is needed to get people back to functioning so they don’t go down that slippery slope of declining health and quality of life.”

“And let’s not forget that young people can have chronic pain as well,” Carter added. “We see a lot of people in their 20s who are dealing with pain every day as well.”

Tony Tesoriero of Massapequa had suffered a leg injury back in July, and is still dealing with residual pain issues to this day.

“I came here today to get some insight into how to better deal with and eliminate my pain. The doctor I’m seeing recently referred me to a pain management person, and I didn’t even know there were doctors that specialized in that at all,” he said. “I found the information here very helpful...I already knew some of it from my experience with pain, but any help is great.”

Massapequa resident Marshall Botwinick also had been experiencing some minor aches and pains as of late, but is holding off on seeing specialized pain management assistance for the time being.

“The seminar was interesting, and it certainly gave me a couple of things to think about,” he said. “I’ve heard of NAPPM previously...

I have a friend that went to their Valley Stream office previously and they were very happy with the result. I might give it a try myself if my pain ever gets to the point where I have to do something about it.”

To find out more about the North American Partners in Pain Management, visit their website at www.NAPPM.com.