Dr. Kushnerik is the Director of Pain Management at Downtown Hospital and can be reached at (212) 312-5247.
Pain Management – An Overview
Pain management (also called pain medicine) is the discipline concerned with the relief of pain. Pain is a very personal and individual experience. Our goal is to eliminate or reduce the amount of patients’ physical pain. There are different types of pain; if you are suffering from any type of physical pain, there are many experts here at Downtown Hospital to help you.
Acute pain usually begins suddenly and is often clearly linked to experiencing some type of physical trauma such as surgery, labor and childbirth, broken bones, burns or an accident. Acute pain often has a reversible cause and may require only temporary treatment. In most cases, acute pain does not last longer than six months, and it disappears when the underlying cause of pain has been treated or has healed.
In contrast, chronic pain often results from conditions that are more difficult to pin-point or treat, and may take a longer time to reverse. Chronic pain persists despite the fact that the injury that may have caused it has healed. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. In such situations, the pain itself is frequently managed separately from the underlying condition of which it is a symptom.
Pain can be treated in a number of ways depending upon its possible cause and the severity of the pain itself. Talk to your primary care doctor about any pain, especially any long-lasting or unusually sharp pain that you may feel.
If you are a patient in the Hospital and experience pain, immediately tell your doctor or nurse. You can expect:
•That your reports of pain will be believed and will be responded to promptly
•That you will receive information about pain relief measures
•That you will receive treatment by concerned specialists dedicated to pain prevention and management
In turn, as a patient at the Hospital, your healthcare team will expect:
•That you ask your health care providers what to expect regarding pain and its management
•That you discuss pain relief treatments with your doctors and nurses, and work with them to create a pain relief plan
•That you will ask for pain relief medications when pain first begins
•That you will help the doctors and nurses determine how bad your pain is, and will inform them about any pain that will not go away
You may also wish to speak to medical specialists from the Downtown Hospital Department of Anesthesia before or after you have any inpatient or outpatient procedure at the Hospital. The Department of Anesthesia is responsible for ensuring our patients’ safety and comfort during both in-patient and ambulatory procedures. The Department of Anesthesia is also responsible for the provision of acute pain services for those patients who need assistance controlling their pain post-operatively. The Department is comprised of Board-certified physicians and certified registered nurse anesthetists who are dedicated to providing the highest level of patient-focused anesthetic care. The Chief of the Department is Lee Winter, M.D. To contact the Downtown Hospital Department of Anesthesia, please call (212) 312-5244.
Your doctor may recommend that you speak to a Pain Management Specialist, especially if you are suffering from chronic pain. For patients with chronic pain, Downtown Hospital offers a Pain Management Program. For some types of pain, your doctor might also recommend that you receive Physical Rehabilitation. With a dedicated, service-oriented staff, the Downtown Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinic can assess and treat a range of injuries and conditions related to musculoskeletal, neurological, post-surgical, and developmental disorders. The Downtown Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinic helps patients regain their optimal level of functioning by providing services in the following areas:
To learn more about the Downtown Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinic, please call (212) 312-5548.