Finding a Pain Management Doctor Near Me
If you’re living with chronic pain, the doctor you’ll likely first see about pain management is your primary care provider. This is a great place to start however when you’ve tried all treatment options with your primary care provider and you still haven’t found pain relief, it’s time to tell yourself “I need to find a pain management doctor near me”.
So why see a pain management doctor? Well, the field of pain management is complex and continuing to grow. To receive the best care possible, it’s important to work with specialists trained and experienced in managing different types of pain.
Working with the right care team can help you find the best treatment options and meet your pain management goals.
What is a pain management doctor?
Pain management specialists are physicians who have advanced training to become the most qualified source of expertise to evaluate, diagnose, and treat chronic pain.
They are trained to understand why pain happens, use special tests to diagnose pain, and perform specialized procedures to treat pain. Because the cause of pain people experience is different and unique, pain management has become a highly multidisciplinary approach.
Depending on the source of your pain and situation, you may see several pain providers as you search for relief. Your pain management team might include a:
- Physical rehabilitation specialist
- Orthopedic surgeon
- Interventional pain management specialist
- Occupational therapist
- Advanced practice provider
Each of these providers specializes in different areas of pain management to provide a comprehensive approach to your care.
What does a pain management doctor do?
While your primary care provider is knowledgeable about a wide variety of health and treatment issues, they can’t be extensively trained in everything.
Primary care providers need to know about many conditions to treat patients more generally, so they haven’t received the same training level as a specialist. Instead, they are trained to spot issues and help patients find the right specialist as needed.
On the other hand, pain management specialists receive extensive specialized training to tackle pain issues specifically. After they have completed medical school and their residency, they undergo additional residencies, internships, and fellowship training specifically to treat pain.
The additional training these specialists receive deepens their knowledge of pain and gives them the skill set to diagnose, treat pain, and perform pain-relieving interventional procedures.
Some of the main benefits of a pain management specialist include:
- Extensive experience and training in pain management
- In-depth understanding and background of why pain happens
- Access to tools, special tests, and treatment options that are specific to certain types of pain
Spinal Cord Stimulator Doctors
There are also pain management specialists who have received additional training in spinal cord stimulation to address even more complex chronic pain conditions.
While exploring spinal cord stimulation as a treatment option, most doctor’s offices have advanced practice providers on your care team. Advanced practice providers can be nurses, physician assistants, or other trained medical staff and are knowledgeable resources who provide education about spinal cord stimulation, like HFX™, and can answer your questions.
If you are a candidate for spinal cord stimulation, you’ll first try spinal cord stimulation in a temporary trial to make sure it’s the right treatment option for you. If you experience relief during your trial, you’ll most likely move forward with a quick implant procedure. See how spinal cord stimulation works:
While trying spinal cord stimulation and moving forward with the implant, there are several providers you may work with:
- Pain management doctors trained in spinal cord stimulation
- Often are fellowship-trained after a specialty training in areas such as anesthesiology, physical medicine & rehabilitation, or neurology
- A pain management specialist can perform trials and implants with thin wire leads called percutaneous lead
- Surgeons trained in spinal cord stimulation
- Often fellowship-trained after a specialty training in areas such as neurosurgery and orthopedic spine surgery
- Surgeons can perform implants with either a paddle lead or
percutaneous (thin wire) leads
Your pain management care team will carefully decide your treatment plan and what providers should be on your care team based on your unique situation and health conditions.
For example, sometimes two different physicians perform your trial and implant. You might have an interventional pain management specialist perform your trial but have a neurosurgeon perform your implant. It may be recommended for you to have a paddle lead implanted by a neurosurgeon if you have excess scar tissue or anatomical barriers that would prevent the placement of a percutaneous lead.
Both types of physicians are highly trained to manage your pain and partner together to ensure you’re set up for the best treatment outcome.
When should I see a pain management doctor?
You may want to see a pain management specialist if:
- You’ve been in pain for longer than 3 months
- Your pain is difficult to control
- You want to decrease or avoid pain medications
- You’ve tried all the options you can with your primary care provider and you still haven’t found relief
If the statements above sound like you, the next best step you can take is to find or be referred to a pain management specialist.
In many cases, consulting a pain management specialist doesn’t require a referral from your primary care provider. Whether or not you will need a referral depends on the policies of pain management providers in your area and your insurance.
Talk to a pain management doctor today
If you’re ready to talk to a pain management specialist about finding pain relief you can locate a pain management doctor in your area and call to schedule an appointment or you can reach out to your primary care provider and ask for a pain management referral.
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