7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Pain Specialist
Pick a doctor who:
Has the training and experience in treating your specific type of pain. Most will have done a pain medicine “fellowship,” which is training above and beyond a doctor’s training in a specialty.
Is “board-certified,” which means they have passed in-depth tests, called boards, in the field of anesthesiology, neurology, or physical medicine and rehab
Has a good reputation in the medical community
Encourages you to ask questions
Allows you to disagree
The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine also recommends that you ask the doctor:
How they would treat you
Who they would refer you to for things like counseling or complementary therapies
How you would reach them if you have any concerns
What their general approach is to managing pain
What You’ll Need to Provide
At your first appointment, you'll probably get a complete physical exam and talk with the doctor about your pain. She'll want to know:
Where it hurts
How it feels (For instance: does it burn, ache, feel like pins and needles, pound, feel tight or tender?)
When your pain first started
How bad it is (such as on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst possible)
What you think may have caused it
Any medicines you take for it, or other treatments you’ve tried
What makes it worse or better
It can help to keep a pain diary, where you write down how you feel each day. When you share those notes with your doctors, it lets them know more about what the problem might be and what treatment to try.
Your pain doctor and your regular doctor will work closely together to help you feel better ASAP. They may also recommend that you get physical therapy or occupational therapy, massage, acupuncture, electrical nerve stimulation, biofeedback, or counseling, depending on how pain has affected you.