Chronic pain is a prevalent problem in the United States, largely because we’re living longer and longer. More than 100 million Americans say that their constant pain impacts heavily on their daily life and greatly affects their overall well-being.
If chronic or intermittent pain is regularly impacting your life, it may be time to seek the expertise of a pain management physician. Let’s talk about what this type of doctor can do for you.
What Does a Pain Management Physician Do?
The aim of a pain management physician is to reduce or eliminate your pain and to raise your quality of life. A pain management doctor has specialized training in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all types of pain, including long-term and severe pain.
Pain can occur for many different reasons, including injury, illness, post-operative reactions, nerve damage, and underlying medical conditions – such as diabetes and arthritis. Pain can also develop for no apparent reason, and this requires a thorough medical investigation in order to diagnose the cause and manage it effectively.
A pain management physician has specialized knowledge and skills to treat various conditions causing pain. These skills and abilities include:
- The ability to evaluate a patient’s complex pain problems
- The ability to analyze specialized tests for diagnosis
- Extensive knowledge of the physiology of pain
- Prescribing appropriate medications to treat different pain conditions
- Performing pain-relief medical procedures (nerve blocks, spinal injections, etc.)
- Coordinating additional care when required (physical therapy, psychological therapy, rehabilitation, nutritionists, dieticians, etc.)
What Happens During the Doctor’s Appointment?
When first meeting with your pain management physician, the doctor will start by carrying out a detailed pain evaluation. This will give them a chance to get to know you, establish a baseline, and focus on different aspects of your life that might be causing or contributing to your pain.
They will conduct the following analyses:
Personal and family medical history – This gives an overall picture of any medical conditions or health concerns within the family that may be relevant in order to treat the condition successfully.
Assessment of lifestyle – This focuses on factors such as diet, exercise, and stress levels.
Review of any prior test results – This includes blood tests, imaging tests, and electrodiagnostic studies.
Physical examination – This is done to assess factors such as the degree of pain, mobility level, core stability, and level of fitness.
Medical Treatments for Pain
Pain management physicians use a number of techniques to diagnose and treat pain disorders. Treatment for pain varies depending on the cause, and certain treatments may be combined for maximum effectiveness.
Pain treatment can include:
- Injections (corticosteroids, platelet-rich plasma [PRP], trigger point injections)
- Prescription medications
- Nerve blocks
- Physical therapy
- Implantable device (stimulators)
- Complementary and alternative medicine (acupuncture, relaxation therapy, etc.)
- Additional care with other health professionals (nutritionists, psychologists, specialists, etc.)
Pain Specialist in Greater Detroit
Your pain management physician can work with your primary care doctor and your other medical specialists in order to treat and manage your pain successfully. They can coordinate other levels of care including physical therapy, rehabilitation, and counseling.
This ensures a continuity of care in the ongoing management of your health. Progress is monitored by all specialists involved in your care and treatment to ensure there is no decline in health or a return or increase in pain.
If you would like more information about managing your pain effectively, call our team at Ahlgren Spine today at (248) 215-8080. We look forward to seeing you here.