Treatments which are used to attempt to relieve pain are important facts to be considered by the Administrative Law Judge in accessing claims for Social Security Disability based on pain. Some treatments are effective and some are not effective. Most pain relieving treatments do not totally “do away” with the pain. Treatments may include: the use of heat; massage; whirlpool; traction; prescribed exercise; bed rest; a TENS unit; biofeedback; trigger point injections; nerve blocks; acupuncture; chiropractic treatments; cranial sacral therapy; behavior modification; counseling/psychotherapy; herbs, vitamins, etc; and attendance at a pain clinic or enrollment in a pain program.
Pain medication is in a class by itself as a factor for the consideration of the extent to which pain is debilitating. The use of pain medication has advanced in recent years to a specialty in the medical profession. The use or non-use of pain medication alone will not determine the outcome of a claim for disability based on pain. However, is is a factor which the federal regulations require an Administrative Law Judge consider. Often times pain medications causes side effects which impairs the ability to function [drowsiness; dizziness etc.] Side effects are also facts which must be considered in accessing whether the person can perform sustained work functions.