Experts tell us that over 76 million Americans that are 20 years of age and older, which is about one-fourth of the country’s population, say they have experienced pain for twenty-four hours or longer at some point. And it does seem that there are many people walking around with pain these days.
Is it because we’re more active and take less time to prepare for that activity? Or are there more auto accidents, tripping, and falling accidents? Perhaps it is poor posture and the hours upon hours of sitting in the same position at work that has caused our body to almost lock up?
No matter the reason, pain has become a specialty in the medical industry and with that has brought us the pain management doctor. These are specialists that have studied different pains and know that it can be commonplace and yet tricky to identify the cause. Not all of these doctors cover all pains, though. Within this category, there are specialists depending on the type of pain you’re having.
Just to name a few of the different specialist in this field:
· A neuro pain specialist will focus on treating stubborn migraines
· An anesthesiologist is a pain specialist that knows how to handle the pain from a delicate lung cancer operation
· An orthopedic pain specialist will address the issue of pain with joint replacements
As with any ailment or illness that somebody may be having, their first stop is with their primary care doctor. You explain your pain and problems and they do an examination, maybe some blood work or x-rays. Then if they aren’t able to pinpoint the problem, they refer you to a pain management doctor.
What Does a Pain Management Doctor Do?
Before you can understand what a pain management doctor does, you should first understand that there are two different categories of pain:
Acute – usually caused by a sensation in your nervous system that alerts you to a possible ailment or injury that should be treated.
Chronic – It may have started off as an acute pain, but was ignored and left untreated, became chronic and can last a long time. Sometimes it may from a sprained back or from a serious illness and continues for a long period of time, perhaps never easing because it is pain from a condition that is ongoing.
When Is Intervention Needed?
When the general healthcare provider cannot find a way to relieve their patient’s pain, they will make the referral to a specialist. A pain management doctor may choose one of the several ways to proceed in controlling this pain, depending on the patient’s background and the doctor’s expertise. The pain specialist will work closely with the general healthcare provider, making sure that both are up-to-date on the medications and treatments that the patient is taking and undergoing.