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How to Choose a Pain Management Specialist

Tips on how to choose a Pain Management Doctor


Treating and managing specific types of pain is best accomplished by choosing a specialist in the field of pain management. There are many things involved when considering the selection of a doctor that treats and manages pain. The following information should help in the selection of pain control doctors.

What is a Pain Specialist?

Chronic pain management doctors specialize in pain management and are board certified in treating one or more types of pain. These board-certified physicians include:

  • Anesthesiologists that assist in giving medications to patients undergoing surgery and administering certain medications to treat chronic and acute pain.
  • Neurologists that treat and manage specific neurological and spinal related types of pain.
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors who specialize in non-surgical treatment of pain by improving body function, while decreasing pain.
  • Family medicine and emergency room doctors assist in the treatment of pain by managing symptoms and referring patients to pain management specialists.

What to Expect at the First Appointment with Pain Management Doctor

To have the most beneficial first appointment with a pain management specialist, consider the following helpful tips.

  • When possible bring information and X-Rays, MRI, or other diagnostic tests to the appointment.
  • Bring a list of all medications, over the counter medications and supplements being taken at the time of appointment.
  • Explain and be honest about all symptoms in the most descriptive way possible.
  • Be prepared to answer many questions about past medical history and treatments. Also, be prepared to take a urine test at the appointment.

Procedure room at SAPNA Clinic

What is a Pain Management Clinic?

Pain management clinics are health management facilities that deal with the treatment and management of chronic pain. Usually, there are two general types of pain clinics. A kind of pain management clinic deals with treating the whole individual with the assistance of an interdisciplinary team. The team at this type of clinic will most often include occupational and physical therapists, nutritionist, psychologists, nurses, and doctors. While these clinics offer medications to assist with pain, they also provide the assistance of the interdisciplinary team to help in managing pain.

The other type of pain management clinic includes specific procedures to deal with pain, such as back and neck pain. 

What to Expect at Pain Management Clinic

At the initial visit, the pain management physician will do a complete history and examination, while also reviewing previous records and tests. During this initial exam, the physician may suggest other professionals assistance in the pain management treatment plan. A urine sample may be requested at this visit and subsequent visits to monitor the types of medications in your system and to meet state requirements. A treatment plan or contract may be signed in agreement with state and clinic requirements. Contracts at pain management clinics vary from each state. Advance knowledge of the specific state requirements before visiting the pain clinic is very beneficial and helps in the decision to sign a treatment plan with a pain clinic.

The selection of a pain management physician is significant in the outcome of controlling and treating chronic pain. A referral from a primary physician, and the clinic being willing to involve the primary physician in the treatment plan will help lead to a positive outcome in the pain management treatment plan.

SAPNA Building

Clinics such as SAPNA (Spine and Pain Clinic of North America) will design the best treatment plan to assist in the management and control of chronic pain. A comprehensive team will assist in helping control chronic pain and returning the ability to function daily while controlling pain symptoms. 

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