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Patients who suffer from pain for weeks, months or even years require special attention. That is why hospitals often have a special department dedicated to the therapy of chronic pain.
The field of pain therapy comprises doctors from a variety of branches of medicine – rheumatology, anaesthetics, general surgery and physical medicine working together in an interdisciplinary regime. They select methods of pain relief tailored to the patient that either completely eliminate the pain or at least alleviate it. Various drugs and surgical techniques can be used to achieve this. These days, use is often made of the latest methods, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – where the nerves in the spinal cord are stimulated using an electrical current – or implanting pumps that drip-feed pain-relieving drugs into the body.
Pain therapy also makes use of techniques from the Far East, such as acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Hypnotherapy (hypnosis used for therapeutic purposes) can also help to alleviate chronic pain.
As pain can also have a pronounced impact on the spiritual well-being of the patient, psychiatrists and psychotherapists are often involved in pain therapy.