What is a Pain Medicine (or Pain Management) Specialist?
A pain medicine specialist is a medical or osteopathic doctor who treats pain caused by disease, disorder, or trauma. Although called pain medicine or interventional pain management specialists, many of these doctors are anesthesiologists or physiatrists. Pain medicine is a mutlidisciplinary team effort often involving the patient's primary care physician or other treating doctor, and specialists in radiology, psychiatry, psychology, oncology, nursing, physical therapy, complimentary alternative medicine, and other fields.
The goal of pain medicine is to manage acute or chronic pain by reducing pain frequency and intensity. Besides addressing pain issues, a multidisciplinary pain management program may address your functional goals for activities of daily living. Overall, a pain medicine program aims to give you a feeling of well-being, increase your level of activity (including return to work), and reduce or eliminate your reliance on medication.
Learn about the various techniques used to relieve your pain in our pain management slideshow.
Pain medicine involves diagnosing the cause or origin of pain. Making the proper diagnosis may involve obtaining an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI study to confirm the cause of your spine-related pain. When treating spine-related pain, other tests, such as discography, bone scans, nerve studies (electromyography, nerve conduction study), and myelography may be performed. The correct diagnosis is essential to a successful treatment plan.