Pain Specialists Take Team Approach in Tackling Arthritis Ills

A new field of medicine treats pain comprehensively through medication, counseling, physical therapy, and other medical specialties.

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If youre in pain, youre not alone. Pain is the most common complaint that leads to medical care-at a cost of an estimated $100 billion per year in the U.S. Just for starters, according to the American Pain Society, 40 million Americans suffer from arthritis and more than 26 million Americans age 20 to 64 suffer from frequent back pain. But help is available, and more of it than you might think, says Fady Nageeb, MD, a staff physician in chronic pain management at Cleveland Clinic. Most people go to their primary-care physician when theyre in pain. But too many people stay there if their pain persists, despite treatment and reassurance that no dangerous underlying process (such as a tumor, infection, or fracture) is at work. Instead, Dr. Nageeb suggests, they should ask for a referral to a pain specialist, who coordinates a team that can attack pain from many angles. "Managing pain is multi-modality-its a team approach, not just a single-expert approach," says Dr. Nageeb.
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