Frequently Asked Questions

What is chronic pain?

Pain is usually a warning from our body that something is not working well. It's an alarm signal, which motivates us to fix it quickly. For example, when you accidentally touch a hot frying pan, your immediate reaction is to remove your hand from the source of the pain (the hot frying pan). With chronic pain, the source of the pain (possibly caused by an injury) persists and becomes chronic, and your body's natural alarm system loses its function. This is known as chronic pain syndrome.

The International Association for the Study and Treatment of Pain (IASP) has defined pain as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage." Pain is an experience, and it impacts our feelings and worldview.

How common is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is as widespread as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined (about 100 million Americans).

What is a Pain Management physician?

In the US, a Pain Management physician (or Pain Medicine physician) is a postgraduate medical subspecialist in anesthesiology, board certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). A Pain Management physician is in charge of caring for those suffering from any disease capable of producing pain, both acute and chronic; and who, despite multiple medical prescriptions and physical therapy, do not obtain optimal pain control from standard medical management.

What is the problem with traditional pain management?

Traditionally, pain has been managed with opioid medications, which are often prescribed to help relieve short-term pain. But when taken over a long period of time (beyond 12 weeks), opioids can increase pain, lower your mood, and cloud your thinking. These meds block the pain signals, which causes your nerves to gradually send even stronger pain signals. It’s as though your nerves turn up the volume to help your brain hear the pain.

Eventually, your nerves become so distorted that even a light touch can hurt. When this happens, higher doses of medication are required to block the louder pain signals, and as tolerance to these addictive medications increases, the risk of overdose becomes a real threat.

How is the Advantia Spine & Pain Center different?

At Advantia, we help chronic pain patients find relief and healing from a multidisciplinary approach to care – not a cookie-cutter approach. A multidisciplinary approach is not a new concept. Dr. John J. Bonica was an American anesthesiologist who, while treating World War II veterans, experienced success in treating chronic pain by blending different medical perspectives. His model combined anesthesiology, physical medicine, psychiatry, psychology, neurology, and surgery to provide care and pain relief.

The mission of our pain center is to provide relief of not only the pain but also of the symptoms associated with it. Comprehensive care through the support of many specialists will improve the quality of a patient's life.