Pain management specialists are highly-experienced and trained specialists who are able to diagnose conditions, design treatment plans according to your goals and offer ongoing care for their patients. In the majority of cases, they deal with people with chronic pain who have been experiencing pain for more than three months. The following section depicts their expertise, the level of care they provide, what to expect after the first visit and how to find these doctors.
Who are pain management doctors?
According to ASRA, which stands for the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, pain management doctor is a physician with special training in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain. They possess advanced knowledge that will help you to reduce chronic pain. A pain specialist has attended additional one-year training in pain management after their general residency. Apart from that, they also possess board certification in their field of expertise.
Pain management doctors might be also able to treat sports-related injuries. However, the majority of them work with chronic pain patients. This type of pain is hard to diagnose, which requires multiple therapies to treat and the treatment process might take up to three months or more. Pain management doctors typically treat the following conditions:
- Knee pain
- Neck pain
- Nerve pain
- Head pain and migraines
- Lower back pain
What to expect after the first visit?
During your first visit, a pain management doctor will make focus on diagnostic of the cause of your pain. Therefore, it is highly advisable to bring the following things with you:
- A journal where you write down the symptoms, triggers and pain intensity during a specific period of time
- Treatment history
- A list of medication that you have already used or is currently using
- Insurance plan
- Make sure you have an honest conversation with your specialist and tell him exactly the way you feel, measures that you have already taken and anything that makes you feel pain relief. All the aforementioned will have a huge impact on your treatment plan.
When it is time to visit a doctor?
You should seek the help of a pain management doctor when you experience the following:
- Your pain restricts from normal activities and you have a feeling that it is ruling your life
- You have already tried natural therapies and you have not experienced any pain relief
- Your primary care is not able to diagnose the cause of pain
- You have been experiencing pain for the period of three months and more
- Your pain is quite severe and debilitating
What to do avoid?
It is highly recommended to make thorough research when selecting a pain management doctor. You need to make sure that you avoid any doctors who do not have board certification. Specialists who want to practice need to have a license. In addition to that, if a pain management doctor uses an assistant, he/she also needs to have a license in order to practice.
It would be also a great idea to ask anyone who has already treated their pain at that doctor. It will give you valuable insights into his/her experience, methods of treatment, expertise and the effectiveness of the treatment plan itself. It is also advised to make a list of pain management doctors and have a conversation with all of them. As was already mentioned, your treatment process highly depends on your communication with a doctor. Thus, it is vital to find a specialist whom you will be comfortable working with. Some people underestimate this factor, but in reality, the way you get along with your doctor has a huge effect on the final result.