Pain medicine specialists, also known as pain management doctors, specialize in diagnosing and treating pain. These physicians undergo additional training to help individuals whose chronic pain is often difficult to diagnose and may require ongoing treatment using a variety of therapies.
What conditions do pain medicine specialists treat?
The types of conditions managed by pain medicine specialists fall into three main groups: direct tissue injury, nerve injury, and a combination of tissue and nerve injury.
What procedures do pain medicine specialists perform?
Pain medicine specialists perform various procedures, such as X-rays, to diagnose and provide ongoing treatment for your pain management. Pain medicine specialists also rely on a combination of nonsurgical therapies to improve your quality of life, including:
Sometimes, treatment involves the use of medications. Depending on your need, your pain medicine specialist will also coordinate their treatment with the other physicians you may be seeing.
When should I contact a pain medicine specialist?
What can I expect from my first pain medicine specialist appointment?
During your first pain medicine specialist appointment, your physician will ask you questions about your symptoms and level of pain. They may also ask for your past medical records, a list of any medications you take, and previous diagnostic tests you had performed.
Your physician will also conduct a physical exam. Typically, your physician will provide information about your pain’s source, provide lifestyle counseling, and recommend a combination of therapies to help treat your pain.
Some common questions your pain medicine specialist may ask include:
What questions should I ask my pain medicine specialist?
It’s important that you prepare for your appointment with your pain medicine specialist. Part of preparing includes starting a pain journal, which is a way to track your pain. Write down the times when your pain occurs, how intense it feels, where you feel it, and what type of pain you’re experiencing.
In addition to keeping a pain journal, you might want to prepare a list of questions to ask your specialist. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of good questions to ask:
You may use these questions as a starting point, but feel free to add your own. A good practice is to also ask for additional information and take notes during your appointment.