What type of doctor is a Pain Specialist?
There are several names for this type of practice: pain management specialist, pain doctor, or pain specialist. This physician is either a medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathy. His or her specialty is to treat pain. This individual has extensive, specific training in medical school in pain management for many conditions such as cancer pain, injury, pain after operations, and chronic pain chronic. Depending upon the setting these doctors may specialize even further to one type of pain such as Addiction, Arthritis, Back, Knee and Neck Pain, Cancer pain, Chronic pain, Complex Pain Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Headache, Neuropathic Pain, Orofacial Pain, Palliative Care, Pelvic Pain, and other unspecified pain types. Most pain specialists are members of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM). This organization focuses on providing up to date information on pain, acts as an advocate for the practice and encourages research in pain medicine. It is useful for you to ask your pain doctor about his or her membership in the academy of pain medicine.
Pain specialists can provide guidance about types of pain and its treatment to other doctors, including your primary care physician.
How is a Pain Specialist Different from Your Doctor?
Your doctor, family doctor or primary care physician is usually the first access to the health care system. While they do not have the extensive specialized training for pain, they can begin your care by prescribing medication to manage your pain or may run some preliminary tests such as x-rays, or blood tests to make a more accurate diagnosis of the issue. Also, they may consult a pain specialist. If your pain lasts more than a week and is not responding to treatment, he or she will likely recommend a pain specialist.
What Can You Expect When You Consult a Pain Specialist?
You will most likely arrive at a pain management clinic through a referral process. During your first appointment, you can expect that the well-qualified pain physician will investigate your personal and family medical history, ask questions about your lifestyle, review any records from your family physician and complete a physical examination. It is crucial that you know all of the names of the medications you currently are taking.
Treatment Courses of Action for Relieving Pain
The treatment options will depend on the cause of your pain. At times it will be possible to eradicate your pain completely; at other times you will be managing your pain. Here are some standard solutions.
Massage: Your pain specialist may see some benefits in massage. This type of treatment is not the recreational massage that you might receive at a spa for instance. In fact, it is a rehabilitative massage, administered by an individual who has taken specific courses in massage for alleviating pain.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is based using hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues, exercises tailored to your condition, information about how to manage your pain and advice for a regime to be continued at home. It is non-invasive and depends on aiding your body to heal itself usually through specific exercises.
Chiropractic Manipulation: This healthcare specialist will manipulate your skeletal system to return your spine to its natural position. Once the skeleton is back into place, the body will start healing naturally. Additional home care such as hot and cold compresses, along with anti-inflammatory over the counter drugs can assist the healing process.
Trigger Point Injections: These are injections into the muscles to treat muscles that are tight or knotted. The fluid in the needle contains a local anesthetic or saline. It may also include a corticosteroid. The medicine works by making the trigger point inactive. The muscle will then relax and not trigger into a knot.
Medications: Depending on the source of your pain, there are prescription medications that can be used to alleviate not only the pain but the source of the issue. These drugs will be individualized to your circumstances, but they can include Corticosteroids, Opioids, Antidepressants, Anticonvulsants (anti-seizure medications), Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or Lidocaine patches.
Nerve Blocks: This is an injection of a nerve-numbing agent into a specific area of the body. They contain a local anesthetic. This injection can also be used to identify the source of the pain so other treatments can be administered.
Implantable Devices: A small device is implanted into your body. This device sends electrical pulses to the spinal cord. This masks the pain signal before it reaches the brain. However, it does not rectify the source of the problem. If the system does not work for you, the device can easily be removed.
Surgery: If the many different types of less invasive treatment are still not successful, then your pain specialist may suggest surgery as a solution. There are many different types, and this quick look at some hip surgeries only highlights a few options.
- Total Joint Replacement Surgery – The bones of your hip joint is removed and replaced by artificial components.
- Arthroscopy – This less invasive surgery is used to repair tears by employing a lighted scope along with thin appliances using only small cuts.
- Hip Resurfacing Surgery – The damaged femoral head is reshaped and then covered with a metal surface to reduce bone on bone friction.
- Osteotomy – This surgery is appropriate for a younger person instead of hip replacement surgery. Damaged sections of the hip are removed, and then the original hip is positioned to remove the deformity.
How do You Find a Pain Specialist?
Are you unsure if there is a pain doctor in New York or a pain doctor in New Jersey near you? There are many opportunities for you to consult with these professionals who work in Pain Treatment Clinics in locations near your neighborhood. Every pain doctor in NY or pain doctor in NJ is prepared to take the time to carefully assess your unique situation, to discuss a variety of options to suit your needs and then to arrange the treatment you require.