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What Is A Pain Management Specialist: And When Do You Need One?

    We can have pain as a result of all kinds of problems including chronic illness or surgery. However, for the purposes of this discussion, let’s focus on pain as a result of accident or injury.

    All too frequently, after an accident or injury, and well after all physical wounds are healed, pain continues. Sometimes, pain eventually dissipates, but sometimes pain lingers for months or even years after the accident or injury occurred. When that happens and it is obvious that your neurologist or orthopedist cannot relieve the pain, it may be time to see a pain management specialist.

    A pain management specialist has special training in assessing, diagnosing and, of course, treating pain. He or she also has knowledge of the latest and most effective treatment modalities such as epidural steroid injections, nerve block injections, pain medication, and physical rehabilitation; and has the expertise to oversee any physical therapy that may be necessary.

    How To Choose A Doctor

    First, discuss your chronic pain with the doctor you currently are treating with such as your orthopedist, neurologist, or primary care physician. Ask your treating doctor whether a pain management specialist might be a wise course of action. If so, then likely your doctor will provide you with a referral. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

    First, make sure your pain management specialist is board certified. That is an important consideration not only for your own treatment, but also for any potential litigation you may pursue. The Courts tend to look more favorably on opinions offered by physicians who are board certified in their fields when considering the medical facts of the case.

    Keep in mind that most pain management specialists have medical training in anesthesiology or physical medicine and rehabilitation. He or she will have had to become board certified in their primary specialty first. Then, they obtain a sub-specialty board certification in pain management.

    After you’ve had the opportunity to check out credentials (visit: nydoctorprofile.com), you can have an initial evaluation performed and ask about the pain management physician’s treatment philosophy, i.e., does he or she support conservative or more invasive treatment methods, and what, exactly are those treatment methods?

    Like all first-time doctor visits, your pain management specialist will want your full medical history, and likely will conduct a comprehensive interview to determine the severity of the pain, the location of the pain, and the frequency of the pain. This will help him or her to create a highly personalized treatment regimen for your specific impairment.

    Be prepared to complete a lengthy impairment questionnaire which your pain management specialist will include as a part of your medical record. Relieving your pain can take some time. Your pain management doctor may try several different treatment options before finding one that is most appropriate for you. So, be a patient patient. Generally, it is well worth the wait.

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