How Do I Choose the Best Chronic Pain Specialist?

Rebecca Mecomber
Rebecca Mecomber
Chronic pain may be helped by practicing Tai Chi, which is a low-impact exercise program that reduces stress.
Chronic pain may be helped by practicing Tai Chi, which is a low-impact exercise program that reduces stress.

Chronic pain can be a debilitating, frustrating disorder. Even after a disease or condition is gone, chronic pain may persist. A chronic pain specialist is a medical practitioner or educated professional who helps patients cope with or alleviate chronic pain symptoms. Each specialist develops his or her own method for best accomplishing pain relief. When choosing a chronic pain specialist, you should consider the specialist's expertise and education, method of therapy, and personal disposition and temperament.

In most developed nations, medical practitioners and persons working in the health care industry must be properly educated, accredited and licensed. Patients suffering from chronic pain have unique needs, and their disorder may require mental support as well as physiological support. A chronic pain specialist is adequately educated and trained to help a patient cope with the pain and chronic pain treatment. Usually your general physician, local hospital or insurance company can supply a listing of reputable, available chronic pain specialists for specific maladies. You can also consult your state or provincial government for current licensing information concerning specific practitioners in your local region.

Most patients select a specialist according to which method of therapy the specialist adheres. Some chronic pain specialists emphasize drug therapy. While chronic pain medication can provide immediate and necessary relief, it may constitute an entirely new set of difficulties. Drugs may aggravate underlying or pre-existing health problems, and any side effects may cause additional maladies, requiring even more drugs. Also, medications can be extremely costly especially when used for long-term ailments. A qualified chronic pain specialist will use his or her knowledge of the disorder to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of drug therapy with the overall health of the patient.

Other specialists may encourage surgery or other invasive procedures as a means of chronic pain relief. Surgery largely depends on the source of the pain and the health of the patient, and the results can vary greatly. A chronic pain specialist may recommend surgery to remove, for example, a ruptured disk in the spinal column. Another specialist may use electrical stimulation to generate electrical current or block neuralgia for pain relief. A capable specialist balances the decision for surgery with the needs of his or her patient, the amount of pain experienced, and the effectiveness of treatment.

Some chronic pain specialists defer all synthetic drugs and invasive procedures in lieu of natural alternative or homeopathic treatments. Such treatments may include physical therapy, diet, herbal topical treatments, acupuncture and stress-reducing activities like Tai Chi. While an improved diet and stress reduction regimens rarely have harmful side effects, you should check the specialist's background for accreditation, references and success stories before paying large sums of money for treatments.

Most importantly, a chronic pain specialist must be someone you can trust, who will empathize with your condition. Chronic pain can sap your strength and cause frustration, depression and anxiety. A qualified, compassionate specialist will not only offer you physical counsel, but emotional support as well. Choose a specialist with whom you can build a relationship and rely on when you need help.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Chronic pain may be helped by practicing Tai Chi, which is a low-impact exercise program that reduces stress.
      By: simonkr
      Chronic pain may be helped by practicing Tai Chi, which is a low-impact exercise program that reduces stress.