Looking at pain from all angles: Dr. Jonathan Jerman sheds insight into a multidisciplinary approach

Practice Management

Healthcare is becoming more patient-centric and pain management physicians, like physicians across many specialties, are tailoring treatments to each patient. A multidisciplinary approach to pain management is taking hold, and allowing patients to play an integral part in their treatment plan.

 Dr. J jerman image"For patients with chronic pain, we take a very multidisciplinary approach," says Jonathan Jerman, MD, medical director and section chief of the Phoenix Children's Hospital Pain Medicine Program. "We not only identify where exactly pain is originating, every new patient in our clinic will see a pain physician, pain psychologist and a physical therapist to make sure we are looking at the pain from all angles and treating in more ways than one."


When a pediatric patient seeks care at Phoenix Children's Hospital, a pain management team will work with both the patient and their family to devise an integrated plan to combat the pain. Dr. Jerman notes the surgical team will continually follow up with patients after  procedures to ensure the treatment plan was successful in treating the  pain and they are satisfied with their recovery.


Because patients play a crucial role in their recovery process, patient education is key and continues to be an obstacle pain management physicians face.


"One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to appropriately educate patients, families and providers about pediatric pain. It's teaching others to understand the range and depth of the patient's pain, and how pain can affect a number of life facets," Dr. Jerman says.


"We look at all of these factors and do our best to better the lifestyle of the patient while also improving pain and function," he adds.


As our nation works to limit opioid use, pain management treatment is making its way into the spotlight, which poses an opportunity for pain management physicians.


"The National Institutes of Health and U.S. congress are doing what they can to put pain treatments on the national agenda and make the role of the pain physician much more integral in the healthcare system," Dr. Jerman says. "The future is exciting for pain treatments and medication. This new attention allows us an incredible opportunity to provide more multidisciplinary approaches in our care, and improve the overall wellbeing of our community members."


Providers can work to understand the scope of a patient's pain by understanding the patient's lifestyle experiences. Such experiences may pertain directly to the patient such as his/her sleep patterns or social life, but may also encompass secondary parties impacted by the patient's pain. Dr. Jerman and his colleagues ask if a patient's parents had to miss work or if the child missed school.


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