A pain management specialist is a medically trained doctor that deals with the diagnosis and management of chronic pain. The specialist is also instrumental in offering multiple treatments in addition to medication to help patients manage their pain and take back control over their lives, offering assistance to treat the whole person and not just the pain.
A pain management specialist often works with a team of health care experts in a pain management clinic. Doctors and providers not medically trained such as massage therapists coordinate a plan to handle the chronic pain experienced by more than 50 million people in the United States.
Ultimately, a pain management specialist will do the initial medical evaluation of a patient and then tailor a plan to meet the specific needs of the patient. A number of medical treatments may be involved in managing pain including medications both prescription and non-prescription such as acetaminophen, anti-inflammatories, opiates, steroids, and anti-depressants. Additional medical treatments may include injection of anesthetics and nerve blockers. For non-medical treatments, a wide range of relief strategies for pain management include acupuncture, electrical stimulation, physical therapy, psychological counseling, relaxation techniques, and surgical options.
In order to access the resources of a pain management specialist, your primary care provider can provide a referral to a pain management clinic. You may also find access to pain management specialists within your local hospital, a medical school, or through pain advocacy groups. You will need to provide a medical history relating to your chronic pain as well as a list of current medications you are taking including the dosage.