When we prescribe a medication for chronic pain what we’re looking for is to have any increase in the functionality and/or a decrease in the overall pain level so if we provide a patient with a pill we want to be able to say: ” Hey with the pill you were able to do this much more of your normal activities or you were able to do this that you were not able to do before”.
Furthermore we also want to be able to say your normal pain level was an 8 out of 10 and now because of the medication or the therapies that we provided your normal pain level may be a 2 out of 10. So whenever we’re evaluating somebody we ask them a variety of questions to see how their pain is affecting their life in general so it could be affecting things such as activities of daily living so taking a shower, doing the dishes, cleaning the house.
It can affect their recreation activities so they’ve enjoyed horseback riding, they’ve enjoyed playing golf or playing basketball or just taking a hike that’s another way we can evaluate it. The third way is their work activities so where as before maybe patients were able to work 8 hours without any limitations now they may be able to work 6 hours before they have to take a break and stretch out or they were limited in certain things that they could do at work. Also overall pain levels so we typically use a 0 to 10 pain score and we look for reduction in those pain levels when we’re doing certain procedures or certain medications are prescribed.