What Research About Doctors Can Teach You

How Do You Find a Good Pain Doctor? We all have our own notions about how our pain has to be treated, as do the pain experts who treat us. Some of us are open to all kinds of treatments, but others are not. Maybe we have participated in costly medicine trials or treatments which didn’t work. Maybe opioids were effective, but our provider is no longer inclined to prescribe them. Maybe alternative treatments are inexistent for us. That’s why it’s a must that patient and pain doctor are compatible. Are all pain doctors made equal? Not at all. Pain management experts have varying clinical backgrounds and pain management board certifications. The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine says there are three pain management board certifications the American College of Graduate Medical Education recognizes.
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Requirements for eligibility for a subspecialty board certification in pain management include board certification and fellowship as an anesthesiologist, neurologist or physiatrist.
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Anesthesiology – A large number of pain doctors are anesthesiologists. They count on interventional procedures, including nerve blocks and epidurals among others, and some perform ultrasound-driven trigger point injections. Many prescribe medications for pain too. Neurology – A neurologist may belong to a pain management group and perform the exact procedures an anesthesiologist does, or concentrate on managing nerve pain-causing conditions such as diabetes and chronic migraine. They also conduct diagnostic tests like electromyography (EMG), and provide pain management through medication. Physiatry – Based on their training, physiatrists are technically rehabilitation physicians who specialize in the identification of contributing factors; physical and occupational therapy; and movement. Those with a subspecialty in pain management also perform interventional procedures, implant medical devices, and prescribe pain medication as part of chronic pain treatment. No matter their major specialty, what you want in a pain doctor are good diagnostic skills and a total approach that you feel will be effective for you. Here are other considerations when searching for a pain expert: Is the physician within your insurance network? Are you okay with his bedside manner? What kind of experience does he have? Does he conduct a meticulous physical exam? Is he in a rush to perform an interventional procedure on your initial consultation? This is a red flag. Does he discuss your treatment plan with you, making sure you understand it thoroughly? Does he provide and discuss all your options, like physical therapy or opioid therapy and its risks and benefits? Does he use a patient-centric care model and listen your ideas while devising a plan? Finally, does the provider feel like a good fit for you? Certainly, personality matters. Poor chemistry with your pain doctor diminishes your confidence in his ability to treat your pain. And considering that pain is largely subjective, this will also compromise the effectiveness of the treatment.