See a Pain Expert

See a Pain Expert

If you have chronic pain -- and treatment isn't helping enough -- you may need to see an expert. Unlike other doctors, pain specialists are focused on one thing: relieving pain. Take some time to learn more about pain specialists and how to find one.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Pain at night, pain when standing, pain with movement, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, face pain, foot pain, finger pain, hand pain, head pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, spine pain, thigh pain, upper back pain, wrist pain, pelvic pain, pinched nerve, migraine, TMJ, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, depression, bowel problems, loss of appetite, exhaustion, difficulty sleeping

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Treatment

Duration

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Why a Pain Expert?

If your primary doctor can't seem to control your pain, a pain specialist may help.

Chronic pain isn't just a symptom, it's a condition in its own right. Think of it like any chronic disease, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Just as you may need to see a cardiologist for heart problems, you may need to see a pain specialist for hard-to-treat pain.

Pain specialists are experts in using many treatments to bring pain under control -- medication, injections, exercises, surgery, acupuncture, and more.

Prompt: Pain MD?

CTA: Why you should see an expert.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Pain at night, pain when standing, pain with movement, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, face pain, foot pain, finger pain, hand pain, head pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, spine pain, thigh pain, upper back pain, wrist pain, pelvic pain, pinched nerve, migraine, TMJ, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, depression, bowel problems, loss of appetite, exhaustion, difficulty sleeping

Triggers:

Treatments: exercise, acupressure, acupuncture, biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, guided imagery, massage, meditation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, stress reduction, cold compress/cold packs, heat therapy, arthrodesis, arthroplasty, arthroscopy, DBS, decompressive laminectomy, disc surgery, foraminotomy, implanted pain pump, joint fusion, joint replacement, laminectomy, motor cortex stimulation, nerve ablation, nerve blocks, nerve stimulation, PENs, rTMS, spinal cord stimulation, spinal fusion, spinal surgery, surgery, TENS, TMS, ultrasound

Categories: Treatment

Which Pain Expert?

The best pain specialist depends on the cause of your pain and the treatment you need.

*Acupuncturists use thin needles to stimulate certain points in the body in order to treat different kinds of pain, including headaches and arthritis, and to promote healing. This form of traditional Chinese medicine is considered to be complementary, or alternative.

* Anesthesiologists specializing in interventional pain management treat chronic pain with meds, injected painkillers, or implanted devices.

* Neurologists and neurosurgeons treat chronic back pain, sciatica, or other nerve pain and headaches.

*Orthopedic doctors do joint injections and replacements.

.* Psychiatrists use drugs, talk therapy, mind-body treatments, and other methods to help you cope with pain.

* Physiatrists help with rehab, physical therapy, and muscle strengthening to ease pain.

Prompt: Pain experts.

CTA: Which one should you see?

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Migraine, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Fibromyalgia, Nerve Pain, Undiagnosed

Symptoms: pain at night, pain when standing, pain with movement, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, face pain, foot pain, finger pain, hand pain, head pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, spine pain, thigh pain, upper back pain, wrist pain, pelvic pain, pinched nerve, migraine, TMJ, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, depression, bowel problems, loss of appetite, exhaustion, difficulty sleeping

Triggers:

Treatments: exercise, acupressure, acupuncture, biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, guided imagery, massage, meditation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, stress reduction, cold compress/cold packs, heat therapy, arthrodesis, arthroplasty, arthroscopy, DBS, decompressive laminectomy, disc surgery, foraminotomy, implanted pain pump, joint fusion, joint replacement, laminectomy, motor cortex stimulation, nerve ablation, nerve blocks, nerve stimulation, PENs, rTMS, spinal cord stimulation, spinal fusion, spinal surgery, surgery, TENS, TMS, ultrasound

Categories: Treatment

Find a Pain Expert

How can you find a pain expert?

* Start by asking your doctor for a referral.

* Call a local hospital or medical center and ask if they have a department of pain management. Find out what kind of specialists they have on staff and what services they offer. Ask about a consultation.

* Use the Academy of Integrative Pain Management or the American Academy of Pain Medicine websites to find a local pain specialist or clinic.

Prompt: Need a pain expert?

CTA: Here's how to find one.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Pain at night, pain when standing, pain with movement, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, face pain, foot pain, finger pain, hand pain, head pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, spine pain, thigh pain, upper back pain, wrist pain, pelvic pain, pinched nerve, migraine, TMJ, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, depression, bowel problems, loss of appetite, exhaustion, difficulty sleeping

Triggers:

Treatments: Exercise, acupressure, acupuncture, biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, guided imagery, massage, meditation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, stress reduction, cold compress/cold packs, heat therapy, arthrodesis, arthroplasty, arthroscopy, DBS, decompressive laminectomy, disc surgery, foraminotomy, implanted pain pump, joint fusion, joint replacement, laminectomy, motor cortex stimulation, nerve ablation, nerve blocks, nerve stimulation, PENs, rTMS, spinal cord stimulation, spinal fusion, spinal surgery, surgery, TENS, TMS, ultrasound

Categories: Treatment

Pain Clinics

If there's one nearby, a specialty pain clinic may be the best place to get treatment. Why? You'll have access to a wider set of treatments than you can get from a single doctor.

Chronic pain often requires a combination of different approaches. At a pain clinic, you may be able to see lots of pain experts -- from neurologists to therapists to acupuncturists -- in one place. These providers can work together to best serve your needs. Together, you can develop a customized treatment plan.

Prompt: Need a pain clinic?

CTA: Learn how they can help.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Pain at night, pain when standing, pain with movement, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, face pain, foot pain, finger pain, hand pain, head pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, spine pain, thigh pain, upper back pain, wrist pain, pelvic pain, pinched nerve, migraine, TMJ, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, depression, bowel problems, loss of appetite, exhaustion, difficulty sleeping

Triggers:

Treatments: Exercise, acupressure, acupuncture, biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, guided imagery, massage, meditation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, stress reduction, cold compress/cold packs, heat therapy, arthrodesis, arthroplasty, arthroscopy, DBS, decompressive laminectomy, disc surgery, foraminotomy, implanted pain pump, joint fusion, joint replacement, laminectomy, motor cortex stimulation, nerve ablation, nerve blocks, nerve stimulation, PENs, rTMS, spinal cord stimulation, spinal fusion, spinal surgery, surgery, TENS, TMS, ultrasound

Categories: Treatment

Meet a Pain Expert

Consider your first meeting with a pain specialist an interview to see how compatible you are. Here's some info to gather and assess:

* Experience helping people with pain like yours

* Specialty areas and board certifications

* Attitude the doctor and staff take with your pain and other concerns

* Willingness and reliable process to coordinate care with your other doctors

* Your expected role in choosing the treatment approach

Prompt: First timer?

CTA: How to choose a pain expert.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Pain at night, pain when standing, pain with movement, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, face pain, foot pain, finger pain, hand pain, head pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, spine pain, thigh pain, upper back pain, wrist pain, pelvic pain, pinched nerve, migraine, TMJ, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, depression, bowel problems, loss of appetite, exhaustion, difficulty sleeping

Triggers:

Treatments: Exercise, acupressure, acupuncture, biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, guided imagery, massage, meditation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, stress reduction, cold compress/cold packs, heat therapy, arthrodesis, arthroplasty, arthroscopy, DBS, decompressive laminectomy, disc surgery, foraminotomy, implanted pain pump, joint fusion, joint replacement, laminectomy, motor cortex stimulation, nerve ablation, nerve blocks, nerve stimulation, PENs, rTMS, spinal cord stimulation, spinal fusion, spinal surgery, surgery, TENS, TMS, ultrasound

Categories: Treatment

Describe Your Pain

To give your primary doctor as well as a pain specialist a full chance to treat your pain, practice describing these specifics:

* Exactly where it hurts

* How the pain feels --  dull, throbbing, aching, or sharp

* Duration and frequency of pain -- is it steady or does it come and go?

* What eases your pain and what makes your pain worse

The better your new doctor gets to know you as a person, the better equipped he or she will be to help you with your pain problem.

Prompt: Explain pain.

CTA: Tell your doctor how you feel.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Pain at night, pain when standing, pain with movement, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, face pain, foot pain, finger pain, hand pain, head pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, spine pain, thigh pain, upper back pain, wrist pain, pelvic pain, pinched nerve, migraine, TMJ, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, depression, bowel problems, loss of appetite, exhaustion, difficulty sleeping

Triggers:

Treatments: Exercise, acupressure, acupuncture, biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, guided imagery, massage, meditation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, stress reduction, cold compress/cold packs, heat therapy, arthrodesis, arthroplasty, arthroscopy, DBS, decompressive laminectomy, disc surgery, foraminotomy, implanted pain pump, joint fusion, joint replacement, laminectomy, motor cortex stimulation, nerve ablation, nerve blocks, nerve stimulation, PENs, rTMS, spinal cord stimulation, spinal fusion, spinal surgery, surgery, TENS, TMS, ultrasound

Categories: Treatment

Realistic Expectations

Don't assume a pain specialist will be able to make pain disappear. That's not always possible. You need to have realistic expectations.

Even if a pain specialist can't take away all of your pain, he or she should be able to:

* Help you find solutions to better relieve your pain

* Improve your functioning, making it easier to do day-to-day things

* Improve your quality of life

When you meet with a pain specialist, ask what you can expect from treatment and listen carefully to the answer.

Prompt: Expert expectations.

CTA: Are you being realistic?

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Pain at night, pain when standing, pain with movement, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, face pain, foot pain, finger pain, hand pain, head pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, spine pain, thigh pain, upper back pain, wrist pain, pelvic pain, pinched nerve, migraine, TMJ, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, depression, bowel problems, loss of appetite, exhaustion, difficulty sleeping

Triggers:

Treatments: Exercise, acupressure, acupuncture, biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, guided imagery, massage, meditation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, stress reduction, cold compress/cold packs, heat therapy, arthrodesis, arthroplasty, arthroscopy, DBS, decompressive laminectomy, disc surgery, foraminotomy, implanted pain pump, joint fusion, joint replacement, laminectomy, motor cortex stimulation, nerve ablation, nerve blocks, nerve stimulation, PENs, rTMS, spinal cord stimulation, spinal fusion, spinal surgery, surgery, TENS, TMS, ultrasound

Categories: Treatment

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on January 14, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

American Society for Pain Management Nursing: "Relieving Pain in America: Institute of Medicine Report Highlights."

Scripps Health: "Pain Management."

International Association for the Study of Pain: "Desirable Characteristics for Pain Treatment Facilities."

American Chronic Pain Association: "Managing Chronic Pain."

womenshealth.gov: "Pain."

American Society of Anesthesiologists: "The Management of Acute, Chronic and Cancer Pain."

American College of Rheumatology.

American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association.

Arthritis Foundation.

Fibromyalgia Network.

National Fibromyalgia Association.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Wolfe, F. Arthritis Care & Research, May 2010.

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