The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) defines a pain management doctor as “a physician with special training in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain.” A pain management doctor has gone through an additional fellowship in pain management after their general residency and also board-certified in their specialties.
A pain management doctor may treat pain related to acute injuries, patients afflicted with cancer pain, and most often treating chronic pain patients. Pain is considered chronic if it has lasted three or more months, or it persist longer than the expected recovery time. This type of pain can be hard to diagnose and may require multiple therapies to treat.
The most common types of condition that a pain management doctor treats include:
- Lower back pain
- Knee pain
- Chronic headache
- Neck pain
- Nerve pain
- CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)
Pain Management Centre
Your pain management timeline will vary depending on your condition, but most patients can expect to go through these steps:
- Diagnose the cause of your pain
The most important step in pain management is to find the right diagnosis. A pain management doctor can determine the diagnosis from a patient’s signs and symptoms, physical examination, additional examinations (x-ray, CT-scan, MRI, etc), even perform diagnostic minimal invasive procedures such as test injections.
- Discuss potential therapies that could help
After diagnosing your pain, a pain management doctor will review available therapies for your condition and discuss the one that works best for you. All the risks and benefits of any procedure or therapy can be considered at this stage.
- Coordinate care between multiple healthcare professionals
The process of pain management can involve more than one doctor. The pain management doctor will coordinate care with other specialty doctors to serve the patient’s best interest.
- Performs any necessary interventional procedure
A pain management doctor also has special training to perform minimal invasive procedures, which could be perhaps an injection at the source of pain, usually with ultrasound or fluoroscopy guidance.
Interventional treatments may include:
- Epidural steroid injections
- Nerve blocks
- Joint injections
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Continues ongoing care
Unfortunately, chronic pain commonly won’t disappear after a single therapy and may require ongoing care. A pain management doctor will monitor your progress and ensure you receive the necessary ongoing care.