Nearly 100 million Americans live with chronic pain, which interferes with their ability to work, sleep, and enjoy life. For those living with chronic pain, it is essential to find a Pain Specialist physician who can diagnose the condition and work with you on a treatment plan. There are safe and effective treatments available that can help patients manage their pain.
When looking for a Pain Specialist, look for a physician with training and experience in treating your condition. Also make sure that you feel comfortable with that doctor and can develop a trusting relationship.
Though not necessary to practice pain medicine, those physicians who have completed additional training in an accredited pain medicine fellowship program have been overseen and educated by board certified pain medicine specialists. They have also had to fulfill standardized graduate medical education requirements and then pass a national exam. Other specialists are certified in pain based on their experience in treating many patients, and then successfully passing a national exam. You can check for these qualifications on the American Board of Anesthesiology website (theABA.org), the American Board of Medical Specialties website (abms.org), the doctor’s own website, or ask about his or her qualifications.
You also need to find a Pain Specialist with whom you can establish a good relationship. People in chronic pain often require multiple trips to a Pain Specialist over a long period of time, so it’s imperative that you feel comfortable talking and working with your Pain Specialist. You’ll want to find a Pain Specialist who listens to you and encourages you to ask questions.
You can visit my Recommended Resources page for links to pain specific associations, which can help you find Pain Specialists and support groups in your area. You can also find a Pain Specialist through a referral from your primary care physician. The Pain Specialist and your primary care physician can work together to go over treatments and assess your progress.