When it comes to managing pain, we’ve come a long way from “take two aspirin and call me in the morning.”
Despite numerous advances in recent years, most people these days are still discovering the medical specialty of pain management. In fact, one of the most common questions we get at HPM is, “What is a pain management doctor?”
In this blog post, we’ve got answers for you.
What Is a Pain Management Doctor or Pain Specialist?
A pain management doctor is a medical specialist focused on the diagnosis and management of chronic pain. These specialists — who are often nurse practitioners, physician assistants, or CRNAs rather than doctors — have undergone specific training in the field of pain medicine well beyond their general medical degree. This might include additional years of residency or fellowship training in pain, as well as board certification by an organization like the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.
The role of a pain management practitioner is multifaceted. They diagnose and treat pain as well as coordinate care among other healthcare providers, counsel patients, and their families, conduct research, and advocate for patients within the healthcare system.
What Does a Pain Management Specialist Do?
When you first visit a pain management specialist, they will start by evaluating your condition. This evaluation may involve taking a detailed medical history, conducting a physical examination, and ordering diagnostic tests. The goal is to understand the true cause of your pain and its impact on your life.
Once your condition has been diagnosed, your specialist will develop a personalized treatment plan. This plan will be tailored to your specific needs and may involve one or more types of treatment.
Your practitioner will then administer these treatments and monitor your progress. Depending on how your pain responds, they may adjust your treatment plan over time.
Treatments Offered by Pain Management Specialists
Pain management physicians and specialists offer a wide range of treatments. These may include medications (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, or injections), physical therapy, psychological therapies (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy), and interventions (like nerve blocks or injections).
Each treatment works in a different way to manage pain. For example, nerve blocks often work by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. Physical therapy can help by strengthening muscles and improving mobility.
Each treatment has benefits as well as potential side effects. Your provider will discuss these with you to help you make an informed decision about your care.
When Should You See a Pain Management Specialist?
It can be challenging to know when to seek help for chronic pain. If your pain persists despite initial treatments, interferes with your daily activities, or causes psychological distress such as anxiety or depression, it may be time to see a specialist.
Primary care physicians play an invaluable role in managing chronic pain; however, they may lack the specialized knowledge and resources of a pain management provider. If your primary care physician recommends it or if you feel you need more help managing your pain, it might be time for a referral.
The Benefits of Seeing a Pain Management Doctor
Seeing a pain management doctor can have numerous benefits for chronic pain patients. By effectively managing your pain, you can improve your daily function and quality of life.
Comprehensive patient care often involves more than just treating physical symptoms. Pain management specialists also address psychological aspects of chronic pain, which can significantly improve patient outcomes.
Many patients have found relief through specialty care. For example, one patient who suffered from chronic back pain for years found that after seeing a pain management practitioner and receiving multidisciplinary care, their pain was significantly reduced and they regained the ability to participate in daily activities again.
Find Answers Beyond “What Is a Pain Management Doctor?”
Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is a pain management doctor?” you’re ready for the next step: making an appointment to find relief for your pain. The importance of expert care in managing chronic pain cannot be overstated. At HPM, we offer comprehensive pain management services across rural America using the latest techniques to reduce patients’ pain.
Our team of highly trained specialists is dedicated to helping you regain control over your life by effectively managing your chronic pain. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards a life with less pain.