Chronic pain is an all too common affliction in the United States. One in four people have experienced pain lasting longer than 24 hours at a time, while millions more suffer from acute pain.
When your pain becomes unmanageable or begins to interfere with your daily life, it may be time to seek out help from a pain management specialist. Read on to learn more about what these specialized medical health professionals can do for you to help you live life to its fullest despite chronic pain.
What Does a Pain Management Specialist Do?
Pain management doctors are specialized physicians with training in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of pain. Oftentimes, they are even more specialized than that, focusing solely on back pain, psychological pain, cancer pain, or other combinations thereof. In addition to understanding the theories of what causes pain, they will be able to work with you and your family doctor to come up with a treatment plan that might help alleviate or manage your pain symptoms.
How Do I Find a Pain Management Specialist?
Oftentimes, your primary care physician will be able to refer you to a pain specialist, depending on your type of pain. You may also find resources at a local hospital or university medical center. When choosing a pain management specialist to work with, ask them about their treatment philosophy, their recommended courses of action for your case, and their relationships with other specialists such as psychologists, surgeons, or alternative medicine practitioners.
What Can I Expect From a Pain Management Specialist?
Your course of treatment will depend on the source and symptoms of your pain. Some pain manifests both physically and psychologically: anxiety disorders, for example, affect an estimated 18% of the U.S. adult population, or 40 million people. Depression is also a form of chronic pain, though 80% of people with depression may never seek professional help. On the other hand, pain from nerve damage or accidents can be treated through physical therapy, medication, or stimulators. Every type of pain is different, and so is every course of treatment.
Don’t let your pain control your life. Talk to your doctor to see if a pain management specialist might be able to assist you with the tools and strategies you need to get back on your feet.