We all know pain as an alarm signal for possible damage to our body: an illness, a trauma, an injury. When it becomes chronic, even after the resolution of the cause that generated it, or indicates a danger to the body that does not exist, then we speak of neuropathic pain: pain thus becomes a disease. Sergio Mameli, 68, has dedicated a large part of his professional life to this sector: he currently directs the complex structure of Pain Therapy, at Businco. «We deal with pain when it becomes a pathology and expresses damage to the biological device responsible for its production. Therapy should not be confused with palliative care which aims to control symptoms, including pain, and care for terminally ill patients”.
And the relationship with the patient must be almost fraternal. Carlo Leoncini is followed by Mameli. And in speaking of the doctor he is moved: «he gave me back my life. I was tired, I was very ill: I visited several doctors from all over Italy without solving anything. I was psychologically down. Then, six years ago, I met Sergio Mameli. A champion. neuropathy cannot be cured but the quality of life can be improved. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.” And the doctor thus becomes a friend, a brother. Mameli knows this and carries on with his working method. And the results are there. But what is pain medicine? “The aim is to formulate the pathogenetic diagnosis of pain, i.e. to identify the molecular mechanisms that underlie the various pain syndromes and to choose the therapeutic procedures suitable for countering them”. The need for a complex structure dedicated to this pathology is clear: «As long as we consider pain as a non-specific symptom, present in various diseases, the treatment is mainly based on the evaluation of the intensity. Things get complicated in persistent and chronic pain that continues even after the resolution of the cause that generated it ».
Nine thousand patients
Mameli adds: «The sector specialists called into question, from time to time, depending on the site where the pain was felt, will deal with the diagnosed pathology. When faced with persistent pain, the task of the algologist specialist is to identify the pathogenetic mechanism that produced the pain, then define the pathogenetic diagnosis, search for the algogenic lesion and possibly trace back the identification of the pathology». The numbers are high: «Eight to nine thousand patients pass through our ward between new visits and checks a year. The lengthening of the average life has inevitably led to an increase in degenerative tumor pathologies which are among the main causes of persistent and chronic pain. So obviously the elderly are those most at risk even if various pain syndromes can also appear in young patients ».
The director of the Businco facility points out that “a sedentary life, daily stress and an incorrect diet are factors that influence the causes of pain”. And Mameli organizes every year «a day to spend in the open air that we have baptized with the name of Karalis 10, with a competition reserved for athletes and a walk along the Poetto seafront for everyone».
Do you have any dreams in the drawer? «I would like to leave a sequel in the name of continuity and guarantee patients the most appropriate answers without the exhausting waiting lists to treat useless pain as unfortunately still happens today. To keep this hope alive, after long waits and great difficulties, we have finally reached the threshold of a competition for medical directors dedicated exclusively to this important medical discipline”.
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