Author: Ruben Kalra, MD
September is pain awareness month and a great opportunity for us to talk about pain specialists and what they do. Pain is something many Americans experience. In fact, 25.3 million Americans suffer from daily pain. There are options for those suffering from chronic pain, one is to see a one of our 12 pain medicine specialists. But what exactly do they do and when should you see them? Below you will find a list of most commonly asked Questions and Answers on pain management. To find out more, read on:
What does a pain medicine specialist treat?
Pain medicine specialists treat everything from back pain to arthritis. Their goal is to get you better without powerful medications or powerful surgery and are often the best folks to evaluate you before you consider surgery. They can focus on long-term interventions for chronic problems like back pain or shorter-term problems like pain reduction and management after surgery.
What techniques do they use to treat pain?
It differs by what kind of problem a patient is having or what kind of pain they are experiencing. A pain specialist may recommend anything from medication to physical therapy based on the type of pain a person is experiencing. Many pain medicine specialists focus on a multidisciplinary approach, suggesting more than one treatment option at a time. For instance, a doctor may suggest a patient ease his or her pain with an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen while also trying techniques like yoga or other types of exercise.
What is the advantage of a pain specialist?
Pain medicine specialists are experts in their field. Many of our pain specialists here at BASS are board certified in pain medicine. They keep up-to-date on the latest research, treatments and techniques in their field and keep an eye on policies and technologies that are relevant to their work. A pain specialist can often offer you the most up-to-date solution for your pain and can be the best person to address the pain you are having.
How does someone get an appointment with a pain specialist?
The first thing you want to do is see your primary care physician. It is important this person has a whole-picture view of your health and knows what kind of treatment you are seeking as it may inform treatment for other conditions you are facing. A primary care physician can refer you to a pain specialist if necessary. It’s important to note that some insurance companies require you to take these initial steps before they will cover a trip to a pain specialist so don’t skip ahead directly to a pain specialist without checking with your insurance company first!
What should a patient bring to his or her first visit with a pain specialist?
To make the most of your time bring a list of what kind of pain you have been experiencing, how severe it is, where it is and when you have been experiencing it. Also bring a list of what you have tried to do to reduce the pain and a list of any medications you are taking. If you have had any tests done make sure to inform the doctor which tests you have had and when. If you have access to your results, it may be helpful if you can bring them to your appointment with you.
Pain is something you don’t have to go at alone! Pain specialists can often use multiple techniques to treat your pain and may be able to suggest something you haven’t tried. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, it’s time to see your doctor.
Chronic pain is not something that should be ignored. It can be a sign of a bigger health issue and in some cases, a simple lifestyle change can help resolve your pain so you can have a more functional life, so reach out today to see what options are available for you!