When you have pain that sticks with you longer than you thought it would — like back pain or an old injury that flares up — you may want to add a new expert to your medical team. Just like there are many kinds of pain, there are different types of specialists who treat it. Your regular doctor can recommend the kind that you should see. For instance, if you have pain as a result of cancer, you may go to a different doctor than someone who has pain from a past car accident.
7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Pain SpecialistPick a doctor who:
• Has the training and experience in treating your specific type of pain. Most will have done a pain medicine “fellowship,” which is training above and beyond a doctor’s training in a specialty.
• Is “board-certified,” which means they have passed in-depth tests, called boards, in fields such as anesthesiology, neurology, or physical medicine and rehab
• Seems trustworthyHas a good reputation in the medical community.
• Encourages you to ask questions.
The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine also recommends that you ask the doctor:
• Who they would refer you to for things like counseling or complementary therapies.
• How you would reach them if you have any concernsWhat their general approach is to managing pain.
What You’ll Need to Provide At your first appointment, you’ll probably get a complete physical exam and talk with the doctor about your pain. She’ll want to know:
How it feels (For instance: does it burn, ache, feel like pins and needles, pound, feel tight or tender?).
How bad it is (such as on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst possible)?
What you think may have caused it?
Any medicines you take for it, or other treatments you’ve tried?
What makes it worse or better?
Bring a copy of all your medical records, including any X-rays, for your doctor to review. Also have a list of all the medicines you take including any herbs and supplements.
It can help to keep a pain diary, where you write down how you feel each day.
When you share those notes with your doctors, it lets them know more about what the problem might be and what treatment to try.
Your pain doctor and your regular doctor will work closely together to help you feel better ASAP. They may also recommend that you get physical therapy or occupational therapy, massage, acupuncture, electrical nerve stimulation, biofeedback, or counseling, depending on how pain has affected you.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on September 09, 2019Sources© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
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