What does a pain management doctor do?
A pain management doctor has specific training to help you if you are living with chronic pain.Chronic pain is pain that lasts for more than three months.
The doctor will find the cause of the pain, and act as the leader of a team of medical professionals, who will work together with you to help manage your pain.
In finding the cause, the doctor will take a history, do a physical examination, and will organise blood tests, X-rays, and scans. The doctor will also talk to some of the medical professionals that have treated you before and look at your previous test results.
In treating your pain, a pain management doctor may prescribe medication, suggest exercises and therapy in coordination with exercise and therapy specialists, suggest mindfulness and psychological management and if the pain is severe and unresponsive to these modalities, perform pain procedures to control your pain.
Pain procedures are performed while you are sedated and in facilities that are sterile, to prevent you from getting an infection. The procedures do not take long to do, are generally very safe and are usually excellent in relieving your pain.
Treating your pain, however, does not treat the underlying, chronic condition. The doctor and team will also work together with you in developing strategies to address the underlying condition by developing a maintenance plan. Lifestyle modifications may include dietary changes, easy and sustainable
exercises regimes like walking and dancing, mindfulness routines, and most importantly, teach you about your pain and your condition.
You can only look after yourself if you know as much as possible about your condition, how to manage it and how to self-manage your symptoms.
The team is usually housed in an interdisciplinary clinic, and they should have an electronic, central record system, so that all the team members can access your records without difficulty. If you find a good team, you can use them for the rest of your life. Remember, managing chronic pain from a chronic condition, is a life-long commitment, so choose a team that you are comfortable with and trust.