Why do you need a pain management specialist?

October 1, 2020

pain management clinic When you begin experiencing symptoms of pain, whether chronic or acute, there could be many, many reasons for it. Oftentimes, when medical care is required, you start with your primary care doctor, or maybe even a surgeon. However, when pain persists, you may need someone to help who has specialized pain management experience.

That’s what we’re here for at Southside Pain Specialists. We have a team of highly specialized, board-certified pain management doctors with decades of experience working with a variety of pain mitigation techniques.

What exactly is a pain management specialist?

A pain management specialist is a doctor who evaluates your pain and treats a wide range of pain problems. This may include sudden pain problems such as headaches, or many types of long-lasting pain, such as lower back pain. We may use a multi-disciplinary approach involving medication-based treatments and procedures to identify and treat pain. 

Our goal is to decrease the pain you experience and improve your quality of life. Several studies show that those who receive comprehensive pain management have less pain and emotional distress and are able to perform daily tasks more easily.

We can place the types of pain we treat into three main categories:

  1. Pain due to direct tissue injury, such as arthritis
  2. Pain due to nerve injury or a nervous system disease, such as a stroke
  3. Pain that is a mix of tissue and nerve injury, such as back pain

More specific disorders or causes of pain include: 

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Nerve or nervous system disorders that cause pain
  • Stroke (post-stroke pain)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Neuropathy
  • Mixed pain disorders
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Cancer

Why go to a pain management specialist?

Pain is a complex problem, so it’s important to work with a physician who has specialized knowledge and skills to treat these conditions. An in-depth understanding of the physiology of pain and the ability to evaluate patients with complicated pain problems are two of the most important reasons to work with a pain specialist.

Pain management specialists also play an important role in coordinating additional care such as physical therapy, psychological therapy, and rehabilitation programs in order to offer patients a comprehensive treatment plan.

Here are some things you should look for in a pain management clinic, all qualities we work hard to provide at Southside Pain:

  • In-depth knowledge of pain disorders
  • Ability to evaluate patients with difficult pain disorders
  • Appropriate prescribing of medications for pain problems
  • Ability to use different diagnostic tests to pinpoint the cause of pain
  • Skill with procedures, such as nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation, and spinal injections
  • A good network of outside providers for physical therapy, psychological support, or surgical evaluation
  • Treatment that is in line with a patient’s wishes and belief system
  • Up-to-date equipment
  • Helpful office staff

What to expect on your first visit 

On your first visit, we will likely ask you basic questions about your pain symptoms. We may look at your medical history, medications list, and any prior diagnostic studies you may have had, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans.

We will also perform a thorough physical exam, and if you have one, we would love for you to bring your pain journal so we can take a look at your pain patterns.  

Here are some of the common questions we may ask: 

  • Where is your pain?
  • Is your pain dull, aching, tingling, etc?
  • How often do you feel pain?
  • When do you feel the pain?
  • What makes your pain better? 
  • Have you noticed any other symptoms when you are in pain? 

On this first visit, we want to get to know you while also evaluating your pain problem. Based on this initial assessment, we may have an idea of what’s causing your pain and what you need going forward. We may also determine that further diagnostic procedures are necessary. 

Regardless of the outcome of your first visit (or any visit thereafter), we hope you will have a better understanding of your pain and a clear picture of the path ahead for pain relief.