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The Naked Truth About Women and Pain: Finding the Right Treatment

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Finding Pain Relief

Fortunately for sufferers, relief may be in sight. As awareness of chronic pain as a health threat grows, and as the demand for help skyrockets, medical schools are teaching courses in pain management. So your chances of getting the right treatment are better than ever. Here's how -- and where -- to find help.

See a pain specialist. Ask your doctor for a referral to a pain practitioner, a physician who is trained and certified by a group such as the American Board of Pain Medicine. Or find an expert yourself. Choose one who's a member of the American Academy of Pain Medicine; go to painmed.org for a list by region. Describe your pain to the doctor -- where it is, when it started, what it feels like, and the intensity on a scale of 1 to 10. The more precise you can be, the better.

Go to a pain clinic. "These centers are often the most effective way to get evaluated properly because they offer a range of treatments for every kind of pain all under one roof," says Lebovits. Pain clinics typically take a mind-body approach and tackle pain with several different treatments including medication, physical therapy, counseling, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback, and guided imagery.

Finding a doctor who took her pain seriously is what finally gave Ashlee Williams relief from her endometriosis. Her new gynecologist prescribed Lupron, a medication that suppresses the production of estrogen, which spurs the growth of painful endometrial tissue. "It's a miracle drug," says Ashlee. "It helps 100 percent. Now I can enjoy my life again, pain-free."

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