A pain specialist is a medical doctor who has expertise in the diagnosis, management, and
treatment of both acute and chronic pain. Pain management specialists offer a variety of
treatment services, and may design treatment programs that incorporate medical,
psychological, and behavioral therapies. Pain specialists usually work out of private pain
treatment centers or pain treatment centers affiliated with hospitals or university
Qualifications of a Pain Specialist
Pain specialists are typically practicing medical doctors who already have experience in a
particular area of medicine, such as neurology, physiatry, anesthesiology, or orthopedics.
This means that pain specialists have undergone years of training in basic medical
practice and in specialized fields of medicine.
In order to become a pain specialist, doctors must spend at least one year completing
intense training in the field of pain management. They must then complete a rigorous exam
before becoming certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology or the American Board of
What Can a Pain Specialist Treat?
Pain specialists can treat a wide variety of painful injuries and illnesses. They often
treat acute pain that occurs after an injury or surgery, but most pain doctors specialize
in the treatment of chronic pain. Some conditions that a pain specialist might treat
- back pain
- neck pain
- arm and leg pain
- spinal stenosis
- nerve damage
- cancer pain
- neurological pain
How Can a Pain Specialist Help Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a very difficult illness to treat, particularly because so few health care
practitioners are familiar with its symptoms. Pain specialists are particularly helpful
for fibromyalgia sufferers because they are very familiar with the different aspects of
the disease. This makes it easier for them to locate and treat sources of pain.
Pain specialists are also more familiar with and have easier access to a wide range of
treatment therapies, including opioids. Unlike primary physicians, pain specialists are
more willing to aggressively treat pain in order to provide you with relief. Pain
specialists are also able to take on a leadership role when it comes to treating you
Your pain specialist will likely correspond with your other treatment providers in order
to keep them up to date and on track with your treatment regimen.
What Tests Will a Pain Specialist Perform?
In order to diagnose the source and cause of your pain, a pain specialist will likely
perform a number of different tests including:
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- skin temperature monitoring
- muscle and nerve x-rays and imaging
These tests can help pinpoint areas of pain and may help to identify areas where muscles
or nerves are operating abnormally.
What To Expect When you See a Pain Specialist
If you decide to see a pain specialist for your fibromyalgia pain, you may be a little
nervous. Don't worry though. The appointment will be much like your typical health care
appointments, only in much greater depth.
Your pain specialist will begin by taking a detailed medical history. This will include
any illnesses or pain that you may have experienced prior to your fibromyalgia. Your pain
specialist will also ask you some specific questions about your pain. Common questions
- What does your pain feel like?
- Where is your pain located?
- How long does your pain last?
- What makes your pain better? What worsens your pain?
Your pain specialist will also perform a physical exam and may run some diagnostic tests
in order to come up with a treatment regime. Pain management specialists usually offer
comprehensive treatment programs, which can include a combination of medications, physical
therapy, and psychological therapy. Typical treatments include:
- nerve blocks
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- physical therapy and massage
- depression treatment
Finding a Pain Specialist
If you are interested in seeing a pain specialist, you will need to get a referral from
your primary health care provider. He will be able to recommend a pain specialist in your
area. If you can't find a pain specialist, speak to the anesthesiology department of your
local hospital or contact your local governing board. Our
Doctor Database consists of doctors in 80 countries
worldwide that specialize in treating people with FM and/or CFS/ME, many of which are