Tell Me Where It Hurts
Q: How do I find a pain specialist in my area?
A: Your best bet is to ask your primary doctor to help you find the right specialist for you. Some pain physicians prefer to use medications or physical therapy only, while others are prone to use more invasive procedures such as nerve blocks, and that goes very much according to their training. Multidisciplinary clinics, the ones that offer several modalities for pain management are better suited to treat difficult cases.
The treatment for chronic, severe pain is not always straightforward or conventional, and it may be difficult sometimes to separate a top-notch physician from a mediocre one. A good specialist will not only obtain a history and examine you thoroughly, but will also ask you about your mood, sleep, work and other factors that may influence pain.
Like in any other profession, beware of physicians who move repeatedly from city to city or who seem to prescribe an inordinate amount of controlled substances. If the physician's waiting room is filled with shady drug seeking characters or if the staff seems unprofessional, find another place.
© Dr. Moacir Schnapp and Dr. Kit Mays