When affected by chronic pain, an individuals initial concern often involves what type of treatment they should seek for their particular issue. While many doctors are qualified and experienced in treating a variety of injuries and conditions, only some specialists can be classified as pain experts: pain management specialists.
What is a pain management specialist?
Pain medicine or pain management specialists provide varied treatments, including medications, action modification, therapeutic injections, physical therapy, and alternative kinds of care like acupuncture, manipulation, and music or art therapy for chronic pain. Multidisciplinary pain medicine joins two or more treatments to maximize pain management.
Concerning Pain Management Specialists
A pain management specialist is a physician or osteopathic physician who treats pain. Although called interventional pain management specialists or pain medicine specialist, a number of these doctors are physiatrists or anesthesiologists. Pain management and medication treatment is a team effort frequently involving the patient’s primary care doctor or other treating doctor, and specialists in radiology, psychiatry, psychology, oncology, nursing, physical therapy, complimentary alternative medicine, and other fields.
Education and Training
After graduating medical school and finishing a one-year internship, the doctor enters a program in anesthesiology or physical medicine but from different fields such as psychiatry and neurology. Upon completion of a residency program (typically 3 years long), the doctor completes a one-year fellowship for advanced training in pain medicine.
Pain medication specialists are board certified. The associations that board certify physiatrists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, and psychiatrists all collaborate to provide the board examination to the subspecialty of pain medicine. Pain medicine and management specialists keep their education and training throughout their careers. There are many opportunities for pain management specialists to remain current with technical and medical improvements in pain medication, such as society meetings and journals.
Goals of Pain Management
By reducing pain, frequency and intensity, a pain management specialist’s goal is to handle chronic or acute pain. A pain management program can manage your operational goals for activities of daily living besides fixing pain problems. In general, a pain medication program intends to give you a feeling of well-being, increase your level of action (like return to work), and reduce or eliminate your dependence on drugs.
Kinds of Pain Treated
Pain medicine specialists treat all kinds of pain. Intense pain is described as severe or sharp and may signal something isn’t right. The pain experienced during care is an instance of acute pain. Infection lasting more or even 6 months is described as chronic. This kind of pain is persistent and varies from moderate to severe. Spinal arthritis (spondylosis) pain is often chronic. A good outcome is produced by combining different treatments although chronic pain is difficult to manage.
Treatment may include:
- Limit activities that increase pain (activity modification)
- Prescription medication: Nonsteroidal anti inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, narcotics (opioids), anti-depressants, and antiseizure drugs. Some antiseizure and antidepressant medications have proven to help manage specific types of chronic pain.
- Injection therapy: provide pain relief, as well as Injections may help to pinpoint the reason behind pain. Therapies include facet joint anabolic steroid, and joint injections; and nerve rootbranch, peripheral and sympathetic nerve block .
- Physical Therapy: Heat/ice, massage, spinal traction, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, and therapeutic practice.
- Pulsed Radiofrequency Neurotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that prevents nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
- Rhizotomy utilizes electrodes that are heated to turn off pain signals from nerves that are particular.
- Spinal Cord Stimulation is an implanted device that produces electrical impulses to block pain perception.
- Intrathecal Pumps are sometimes referred to as pain pumps. The device is surgically implanted and dispenses doses of medication within the spinal tract.
- Acupuncture is the insertion of needles to some of 2,000 acupuncture points or the body’s 20 Meridian factors. Acupuncture is central to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes other holistic treatments.
- Manipulation is performed by chiropractors, osteopathic doctors (DO), and some physical therapists, even though the treatment varies among these careers. Manipulation is described as the use of force or pressure to take care of a disorder.
- Art and music therapy are approaches to distract your mind. Besides a creative outlet, comfort is promoted by these therapies, provide a way for expression, help to reduce anxiety, raises self-esteem, and are fun.
What to Expect During an Appointment
Your consultation with interventional pain management specialist is much like other physician visits. Even though there are a number of similarities, the focus is quickly managing it, and on your pain, the cause or contributing factors.
Pain medication doctors perform a physical and neurological evaluation, and review your medical history paying special attention to pain history. You may be asked many questions about your pain, such as:
- On a scale from zero to 10, with 10 being the worse pain possible, speed your pain.
- When did pain begin? When pain began what were you doing?
- Does pain disperse into different areas of the human body?
- Is its intensity continuous, or can it be worse at different times of the night or day?
- What helps to relieve the pain? Why is pain worse?
- What treatments have you tried? What worked? What failed?
- Do you take herbal supplements, vitamins, or over-the-counter medications?
- Can you take prescription medication? If so, what, how much, and how?
Most pain medication specialists utilize a standardized drawing of the front/back of the human body to let you indicate where pain is sensed, as well as indicate pain spread and type (eg, gentle, sharp). You may be requested to complete the form each time you stop by the pain physician. The drawing can help to evaluate your treatment progress.
Accurate Diagnosis Key to Remedy
Pain medication involves diagnosing the cause or source of pain. Making the proper diagnosis may entail obtaining an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI study to confirm the cause of your neck or back pain. When treating spine-related pain (which may include leg or arm signs), additional tests, such as discography, bone scans, nerve studies (electromyography, nerve conduction study), and myelography could be carried out. The identification is essential to a successful treatment program.
Some spinal disorders and pain therapy requires involvement including orthopaedic surgeon, neurosurgeon, your primary care doctor, and practitioners in radiology, psychiatry, psychology, oncology, nursing, physical therapy, and complimentary medicine. The pain medicine specialist may consult with and/or consult with spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon to ascertain whether spine surgery is required by your pain issue.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .Â
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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