Chronic pain is the most common reason why Americans seek medical care, and chronic pain affects about 100 million Americans every year — about 1 in three Americans. That’s almost four times as much as diabetes or heart conditions, and almost nine times as many Americans as cancer. This includes people who suffer with migraines or who have jaw pain related to their TMJ.

man with jaw pain

At the same time, our traditional approach to pain — throwing medication at the problem — is breaking down. Opioid overdoses hit a record high in 2014, after growing 200% since 2000 and jumping up sharply — 14% — from 2013 to 2014. Many put the blame on overprescription of opioid painkillers that can either lead to addiction in the patient, or be distributed by patients or their relatives to addicts. Many who started out taking opioids for chronic pain transitioned to heroin, which in some places is cheaper and easier to access, but is also more deadly.

It’s clear that we need another way to approach chronic pain.

Enter Integrated Pain Management

The problems with traditional pain medications is part of the reason why so many professionals are interested in integrated pain management (IPM). IPM is an approach to pain that goes beyond just focusing on the simple biochemical mechanism of pain, though it includes it.

Instead, integrated pain management is an approach to dealing with pain that focuses on the whole person. It encourages healthful lifestyle changes as a way to address some of the most common causes of chronic pain. It is evidence-based, constantly seeking to refine our understanding of pain treatment and improve our pain management techniques. It is also interdisciplinary, bringing together experts in both Western and traditional medicine on a team as well as all other techniques that consistently yield results for patients.

In short, IPM is patient-centered, an approach to pain that prioritizes the patient — the whole patient — above other concerns that can detract from effective treatments.

Are You Looking for an Expert on Pain Management?

If you are suffering from chronic pain and you are looking for something other than the same old “take two and call me in the morning,” then you should consider a visit to River Edge Dental, New Jersey’s center for TMJ, sleep apnea, & reconstructive dentistry. Dr. Marlen Martirossian is a member of the American Academy of Pain Management, an organization that is dedicated to promoting the spread of IPM. To learn how we can help, please call (201) 343-4044 today for an appointment.