Pain management, pain reliever, pain medication, pain control, medical oncology, pain management, or clinical pain, is a specialized branch of general medicine that makes use of an interdisciplinary approach to easing the pain and improving the quality of living of those suffering from chronic pain. Pain management is frequently used in combination with other forms of therapy for the purpose of dealing with pain as well as improving the patient’s quality of life. For instance, a painkiller may be prescribed along with a course of physical therapy to treat a back injury. When both the back injury and the pain are being treated simultaneously, it is often possible to relieve the pain both from the injury as well as the medication. This allows the person to focus on regaining their function as well as easing the discomfort.
Apart from the methods used in conjunction with other modalities such as exercise and yoga, pain management may also be accomplished through the use of pain suppressants, biofeedback, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy and neurobiological changes. While pain may affect all areas of the body, somatic pain is usually considered to be the result of emotional or physical stress that has occurred in the area. For example, stress related to chronic diseases such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and obesity can cause chronic somatic pain, whereas stress can also lead to muscle pain in patients of patients with COPD.
A pain management specialist has the education, skills, training, and experience to diagnose, treat, and prevent pain related problems. These specialists may work at a pain management clinic, outpatient surgery center, acute care hospitals, physicians’ clinics, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and other health care centers. Most physicians who become pain management specialists get their start by attending medical school and then completing either a 2-year degree at an accredited medical school or a 4-year degree at a vocational/trade school. After completing a pain management residency, most pain specialists will continue on to become full-time faculty members at a university or college. A physician can specialize in one or more fields of medicine.
Many pain management doctors become board certified in a particular specialty. Doctors with this credential are generally required to take additional training and may be required to attend continuing education courses periodically to maintain their certification. Generally, pain doctors who want to become board certified must meet specific education and clinical requirements. Many board certifying agencies require physicians to have a minimum of three years of medical experience.
Many doctors choose to open a chronic pain clinic. A chronic pain clinic is designed specifically to meet the needs of individuals who suffer from long-term pain caused by a variety of ailments. Typically, these clinics offer a range of comprehensive treatments for common chronic pain problems such as back pain, neck pain, and pain due to musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis. Pain specialists at chronic pain clinics can treat a wide variety of patients with a range of unique pain management methods. For example, physical therapy and interventional procedures may be used instead of drugs or surgery.
If you are interested in a career as a pain management specialist, you will need a doctorate degree in the area of neurological medicine. You will also need to complete an accredited residency in a specialty of medicine. If you are a physician who wants to change your career and work in a more naturalistic way of healing, you may want to consider a Neuropathic Pain Specialist program.