Pain management physicians-doctors who specialize in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating pain have advanced training that qualifies them as a reliable source of treatment for patients who experience any type of pain due to illness or injury.
Following a general residency, these doctors undergo an additional one-year college in pain management, and they are board-qualified in a specialty, like cancer pain or sports injuries.
However, these pain management specialists devote their time and experience to helping chronic pain patients whose needs are often hard to diagnose and take months or even years to treat using various therapies.
Pain management physicians most often treat patients with pain in the low back, neck, head, and hip. Other conditions treated by these specialists include migraines, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and more.
But what do pain management doctors actually do?
Not long ago, anthologists handled everything from prescription pain management to pain management procedures. Today, pain management and anesthesiology specialists are two distinct things, and it’s essential to know the difference when choosing a provider.
Historically speaking, pain management has been offered through the anesthesiology field many years back because they were proficient with medications, especially local anesthetics and also different types of procedures for nerves.
Now, there are two types of pain management technicians: those who handle interventional procedures and those who handle pain management procedures.
For one thing, pain management specialists diagnose the cause of pain and the underlying conditions that lead to it. For instance, back pain could be caused by a series of conditions varying from poor posture at your workspace to a herniated disc to a progressive condition such as arthritis.
Once a pain management technician diagnoses your pain, he or she can find the therapy that works best for you based on their qualified training and the latest research. Moreover, pain management technicians often undergo their own studies and trials on patients who haven’t shown any comebacks to conventional treatments.
Pain specialists rely on a wide range of non-surgical, interventional treatments – together with complementary therapies – in order to minimize the amount of medication patients need to take or to avoid the probability of surgery. These procedures include massage, acupuncture, yoga, weight loss regimen, dietary changes, physical therapy, or chiropractic treatment.
Along with non-surgical complementary therapies, pain management technicians may also prescribe patients pain-killing medication like muscle relaxants, antidepressants, or anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Of course, these treatments are optional and may sometimes include epidural steroid injections, joint injections, nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation radiofrequency, or neuromodulation, depending on the severity of your specific condition. If none of these approaches are efficient in combating or reducing pain, surgery remains the last resort option.
What Happens at a Pain Clinic?
Your first appointment is the first step into your journey to finding pain relief. Thus, there are several things you may need to consider before checking into your first appointment.
- Insurance Car, ID, Referral and Imaging
For those going through insurance for pain treatment, the clinic will require an insurance card ID and medical referral on a file to submit authorizations and claims to your insurance.
- Have a Customized Plan of Care
Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to pain relief, you may still be required a customized plan for your unique needs so that pain management physicians can work with you during your initial evaluation.
Pain management specialists heavily emphasize collaboration in the initial evaluation, so they will try to work with you to determine a plan of care that will fit your goals.
Together with your pain management technician, you will review the following detailed overview of all aspects that build your case:
This overview will determine your needs and goals, so together with your technician, you will create a multi-purpose plan of care that may include a mix of procedures and medications to help you achieve the healthiest results.
When to See a Pain Specialist?
The persistent, unbearable pain follows you everywhere and seems to hit the most unexpected moments. You experience that unnerving pain while grocery shopping, during those important work meetings, and even doing your routine workout.
But should you bear your joints or aching back pain resulting from an old injury? That’s when you should see a pain management technician.
Pain is oftentimes considered chronic when it lasts for more than three months. Pain that involves joints or spine, nerve pain, cancer pain, unusual pain of the limbs, and pelvic pain are all signs that need attention.
Don’t wait too much
Why continue to suffer? If you’ve been experiencing pain for some time, or if you were receiving care from another physician and still experience pain, it might be a good time to seek help from a pain management technician.
It’s in your best interest to find the root cause of the pain as soon as possible. And, that can be easily accomplished by cooperating with your primary care doctor and other medical technicians – and diligently listening to your complaints. This helps your pain management doctor to establish a correct diagnosis that will help determine what’s causing the pain so you can receive the treatment you need.
As we’ve previously mentioned, your pain doctor will come up with a multidisciplinary treatment plan that works just for you- one treatment that includes medications, referral to other technicians, physical therapy, implementation of advanced devices that hinder pain transmission, injection procedures and more.
Note that your treatment goals may vary from person to person, and it’s critical to have that conversation with your technician about the end goal. Studies show that pain management technicians may have adapted to avoid long-term opioid procedures while their patients continued to focus on dipping chronic pain intensity.
Besides treatment goals that may vary from patient to patient, pain technicians aim to restore and optimize bodily functions and decrease pain through simple yet promising lifestyle changes like good sleep hygiene.