Dr. Aneesh Singla of the National Spine & Pain Centers in Rockville, MD recently published a new book, Why it Hurts: A Physician’s Insight on the Purpose of Pain. A Harvard-trained doctor and renowned pain management physician, Dr. Singla takes a deeper look into the pain experience and will make you question what you are feeling, and why you are feeling it.
Dr. Singla sat down with the professionals at MDLinx to discuss pain, the current opiate crisis, and why it’s important to keep patient’s functional when they are faced with pain.
Opiates are used to treat chronic pain, but today, opiates are over-used and can be abused if taken for too long, or if the patient has unrealistic expectations for their medication.
“We set expectations for perhaps 50% pain relief from opiates, so that opioids are not overused in search of 100% pain relief. I tell my patients that a 50% reduction in pain is a reasonable goal when treating chronic pain.” ~ Dr. Singla
Pain is useful for doctors, and without it, physicians would not be able to determine the root of the pain. Dr. Singla firmly believes that pain is important. “It [pain] is a highly developed alarm system the body uses to help us prevent further injury and properly attend to our underlying conditions,” Dr Singla writes in his book. In his interview, he makes it clear that “zero pain” is not the goal, but minimal pain and maximum function is the goal. He stands on the ground that patients need to learn to live with a certain degree of pain and adapt accordingly.