Medicine is a skyrocketing field with its never ending development of new drugs, complex procedures, and booming technologies. The necessity of pain management specialty became paramount as a better understanding of pain and drugs were realized. The specialty of pain medicine is the study of pain, prevention of pain, and the treatment and rehabilitation of people in pain. A physician with training in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different kinds of pain is called a pain management specialist. The pain management doctor coordinates additional care such as physical therapy, psychological therapy, and rehabilitation in an effort to offer a comprehensive treatment program.
Pain medicine doctors are highly trained experts. They are medical doctors who are board certified then receive additional training. Many of pain management doctors are anesthesiologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, psychiatrists, and orthopedic surgeons. The pain specialist works closely with a primary doctor who calls the pain expert in as a consultant. The pain physician often becomes the principle physician in providing direct care in prescribing medication, prescribing rehabilitation services, performing pain relieving procedures while coordinating care with other care providers. As the pain management doctor becomes the principle provider, he will examine all x-rays, CAT scans, and magnetic resonances. This is part of the complete analysis of the patient’s condition. It is the primary goal of the pain management doctor to focus on the patient’s ability to function despite suffering with chronic pain. His job is to help a patient manage pain in order for the quality of life to improve. The pain management doctor strives to help the patient to return to daily living activities, work, and leisure while controlling pain.
The pain management doctor uses various treatments to control pain. After examining the imaging studies, he will decide on the first step in treatment. Since it is a foregone conclusion the patient has already tried many types of drug medications to relieve some of his pain, the doctor will probably suggest a more sophisticated approach to management like a pain pump or an implantable device.
Drug pumps are implanted devices that send pain medication to the spinal cord. With a push of a button, a pain medication is delivered to the pain to block the nerve from sending a pain signal. Another implantable device is called a pain pacemaker. The technique is called spinal cord stimulation. It enables the body to deliver low level electrical signals to the spinal cord or other specific nerves which block signals from reaching the brain. Both procedures carry some risk. Since the devices are planted under the skin, complications and infections are possible. Spinal fluid leaks and headaches are also risks.
Over time, the pain management doctor will adjust the dosage of the medications in the planted devices. It will depend how well a patient is responding to treatment.
Other forms of pain relief a pain management doctor may use are anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids.