Finding a Interventional Pain Management Specialist
April 24, 2017 at midnight
An Interventional Pain Management Specialist works with patients who experience severe chronic pain. These doctors work with a broad range of treatment options that can range from high-risk and highly invasive to medium-risk and non-invasive. Usually, their fields of specialty include orthopedics, anesthesiology, and neurosurgery. Given the fact that some therapies can involve spinal implants, epidural infusions, or even addictive narcotic administration, it’s critical to choose the best-qualified specialist to help with your pain management.
According to John Hopkins University, there are two main considerations when deciding which specialist to work with. They center around the specialist and the center where the specialist practices.
Background & Specialization
Severe, chronic pain is managed through the nervous system. Whether your specialist's recommended treatment involves narcotics or invasive surgery, you want to ensure that s/he is qualified in this field. Given the high specialization required to practice, your care provider may have published articles in academic journals or be accredited by a governing body, such as the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine where you can search for names to confirm that your Interventional Pain Management Specialist is in good standing.
In cases where complicated procedures like nerve surgery or neuroaugmentation are recommended, ask questions about the procedure. Replies can also offer an element of comfort. For example, in modern nerve surgery, a current belief is that permanent nerve removal is unnecessary. It's also believed that temporary damage might not result in long-term pain signal interruption, so how does your specialist ensure nerve regeneration will not result in the return of severe, chronic pain?
Medical Center Specialization
If your Interventional Pain Management Specialists practices in a medical center, what is the reputation of that center? A facility that specializes in brain tumors might have a roster of highly qualified neurosurgeons who may have experience in pain management, but the center itself might be ill-equipped to manage your care.
Most pain centers will publish their areas of specialty on their website, offering a quick, high-level overview of whether they accommodate your specific condition and the treatment recommended for it. The next step may involve web searches with the facility name followed by 'reviews'—although searches often return subjective results that don't necessarily reflect the management's current efforts to remedy a poor reputation.
What Really Matters?
Once it's been determined that you will be working with an Interventional Pain Management Specialist, take your time to get to get to know him or her. Ask questions about your care, the options available for your treatment and what and why the specialist recommends them—as well as the after-care plan. A good personal connection with your specialist speaks volumes about the care you can expect to receive.