Most often patients who are suffering from chronic pain don’t know where to turn for help. The most common solution is to visit their primary care doctor. The primary care doctor may refer the pain patient to a pain specialist, but sometimes the primary care doctor prescribes pain medications to help manage the patient’s pain. The problem with this is that patients may become addicted to the pain medications and this doesn’t actually get to the root of the problem, but rather just manages the symptoms.
So, what is a patient to do? How does a regular person, outside of the medical world know where to go or which pain clinic to choose. The first thing to look for is the doctor’s credentials. These can often be found online either on the pain clinics website or on various databases that contain physician information. Check to see if the doctor has completed a pain fellowship or is a board certified pain physician.
Another thing to look for is to see if the pain doctor offers procedures that address the actual reason the pain is occurring. For example, a kyphoplasty procedure is performed to restore a collapsed vertebra. Rather than just prescribing medications for the back pain due to a collapsed vertebrae, this procedure restores the height of the vertebrae and actually heals the area. The patient may still need pain medications, but the dosage will be much smaller and their quality of life would improve greatly.
It’s important to do your homework and research the doctor’s credentials as well as what is offered at their particular pain clinic. Someone who is focused on pain management will have a stronger understanding of the patient’s pain problem and can offer a better solution that actually helps the patient get back to their normal way of life.