Everyone has pain, some or the other time in life. Age and lifestyle are two major factors, besides illness or disease that can cause pain. While most of us know of many different specializations of doctors who treat numerous diseases, not many people know of people who are specialized in curing pains. These doctors are called pain specialists, or pain doctors. These trained specialists are experts for diagnose, and treatment of any and all kinds of pain. Most commonly pain doctors are also neurosurgeons, neurologists and anesthesiologists. 5 main categories of pain doctors include:
• Anesthesiologists: leading the team of other specialized doctors, these doctors act as aids to the team, and help greatly in easing the patient’s pain. The other members in this highly specialized team may include nurses, assistants, rehabilitation therapists, orthopedics, and any other doctor that is relevant to the case.
• Neurosurgeons: these are the doctors who are trained to perform complex surgeries on the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.
• Neurologists: these are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating issues and diseases of the nervous system. There doctors are not allowed to perform surgeries.
• Orthopedics: these are bone doctors, who treat diseases related to the bones, and their rehabilitation, possibly post-trauma
• Physiatrists: specializing in physical medicine, these doctors are specialists in that branch of medicine which deals with preventing, treating, and diagnosing disease using means which include exercise, massage and even manipulation.
How to choose the right pain specialist
Here are a few key points to keep in mind before choosing a pain specialist. The doctor who you choose should be:
• Knowledgeable, having ample knowledge of the pain and possible surgical and non-surgical treatments
• Is a listener: for a doctor to treat you well, he must first listen to your problem. There might be something that you may be missing out on, but his “listening” can help point out the true cause of the pain.
• Exudes trustworthiness and honesty (no explanation required here)
• Has a respectable reputation amongst fellow doctors and other patients, and also his staff
• Encourages asking questions and allows room for disagreements
What to expect from a pain specialist
A pain specialist does not always necessarily work alone. He will work in tandem with your primary doctor to diagnose and cure the true cause of the pain. A detailed and elaborate physical examination is carried out by the pain doctor with session where he will ask you to describe the pain, the times when it occurs, the pattern, etc.
Since pain doctors work closely with the primary doctors, it is a good idea to ask the primary doctor for reliable references. For instance, looking for a pain doctor in Los Angeles can be much more easier if you have references from a doctor you are already seeing.
There is a lot of advancement in the therapies and treatments used to relieve pain. Most pains are first attempted to be treated non-surgically using treatments which include medication, physical therapy, nerve blocks, physiological support, and electrical stimulations. Only in dire cases is surgery recommended.
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