Chronic pain is a common condition that affects millions of people. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain can persist for weeks, months, or even years, often causing significant discomfort and limiting the ability to perform even basic, daily activities. The mental and emotional burden can be equally overwhelming.
Patients suffering from chronic pain need the assistance of medical professionals to help them find ways to reduce their pain and help them cope with it. What do pain management doctors do exactly? Can they actually help?
What Is a Pain Management Doctor?
A pain management doctor — more often a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or other medical specialist — is formally trained to diagnose conditions causing pain and prescribe treatment that alleviates the discomfort and improves the patient’s overall quality of life. These practitioners use their advanced skills and training to address chronic pain and its physical, emotional, and psychological aspects.
By understanding the root cause of a patient’s pain, pain management specialists create a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to each person’s specific needs, providing as much relief as possible and helping them get back to living their everyday lives.
An Overview of What Pain Management Specialists Do
An appointment with a pain management doctor usually begins with a thorough assessment of the patient’s condition. The specialist will ask you questions about your pain, its severity and duration, and any other related details. They’ll also review your medical history, perform a physical examination, and possibly order diagnostic tests to pinpoint the cause of your pain.
Once they make a diagnosis, the practitioner will put together a personalized pain management plan. This may include prescribing pain medication or administering treatments such as nerve blocks or injections. For many patients, some form of physical therapy will be part of the treatment plan as well.
After your initial diagnosis, your pain management specialist will monitor your progress and make adjustments as needed. Every patient is different, so the effectiveness of any given treatment will vary for each individual.
Techniques Used by Pain Management Specialists
Specialists take advantage of a range of techniques to help manage chronic pain — and often a combination of methods. The most common treatment strategies include:
- Medication management
- Physical therapy to improve mobility and strengthen muscles
- Interventional procedures like injections, nerve blocks, and ablations
- Psychological counseling
- Complementary therapies like dry needling or massage
The Benefits of Seeing a Pain Management Doctor
The most obvious answer to the question, “What does a pain management doctor do?” is to relieve pain. But there are other benefits to their services as well.
Pain management care can lead to a better quality of life, allowing patients to return to daily activities such as work, gardening, cooking, cleaning, recreational pursuits, and other physical tasks. Reducing patients’ pain levels makes day-to-day duties more manageable.
A specialist’s job also involves increasing mobility and the ability to function independently — without the help of a family member or other caretaker. These kinds of therapies often take time and offer gradual improvements, but provide the best path to recovery.
Perhaps one of the most empowering aspects of seeing a pain management specialist is gaining a greater understanding and control over your pain. When you know the precise cause of your pain and can eliminate any mystery or guesswork about reducing it, proper pain management can reduce anxiety and instill a more positive outlook for your future.
Find Pain Management Support With HPM
If you’re struggling with chronic pain, HPM can help. We operate pain management clinics in small towns throughout the Midwest and Western U.S., employing teams of certified medical practitioners who are specially trained to diagnose and treat chronic pain.
We treat a long list of painful conditions such as sciatica, back and neck pain, migraines, joint issues, and a long list of other physical ailments. With HPM, you can find the support and relief you need right in your local community.
Find an HPM location near you and start your journey toward better pain management today.