The Diagnosis and Treatment of Pain Problems

Many patients are told that nothing more can be done, that they just have to accept their condition and the pain that comes with it. This is a grave disservice to the patient whose underlying condition is actually treatable. Problems such as back pain, neck pain, neuropathy, headaches, fibromyalgia, cancer pain, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (complex regional pain syndrome) are all treated regularly in a pain management practice. It is a specialty that doctors may claim to practice … in fact, many other specialties market themselves as pain management practitioners … however, there are only a few that are board certified in pain management.

"Imagine going on a car trip without an accurate map to guide you."

An important part of pain management is making an accurate diagnosis. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to treat the pain problem without reaching an accurate diagnosis. A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of pain should be sought out in order to treat persistent pain problems. A pain management specialist will ask for a detailed history, collect your medical records and pertinent diagnostic tests, perform a comprehensive physical examination, and find the correct diagnosis. This is the map that will guide any and all future treatments for you. Simply put: The better the map, the higher the likelihood of treatment success. Oftentimes, certain diagnostic tests will be ordered such as MRI scans, CT scans, x-rays, neurodiagnostic or electrodiagnostic studies, and even bone scans. Interventional pain management procedures may also be undertaken to diagnose the exact cause of pain.

An interventional pain management specialist is a relatively new area of specialization. With this, a pain specialist has undergone formal training, extensive studying, and typically devotes their practice to the treatment of pain patients. In order to obtain board certification, a physician must complete a training program and undergo an extensive examination given by the American Board of Anesthesiologists. The only certification that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties is the American Board of Anesthesiologists Certificate of Added Qualifications in Pain Management.