Whether you are a physician interested in a career in pain management or a patient seeking relief from chronic pain, there are many things you need to know about the profession. Here, you will learn the difference between an outpatient and hospital clinic, treatment options, and board certifications. You will also discover the importance of specialty training.
Only a handful of countries have a formal, board-certified subspecialty in pain management. These programs often must be completed and include the full spectrum of advanced training. However, many countries are adopting a formal medical subspecialty in pain management.
An international survey was conducted using a global survey tool to understand the current state of the subspecialty. It included several questions regarding the subspecialty’s professional, academic, and technical aspects. Most of the respondents were physicians. These individuals had completed their primary residency and applied for a subspecialty in their late careers. A substantial number also reported being involved in scientific research, pain-related conferences, and other activities.
Among the respondents, 80% stated that the subspecialty helped them to improve their personal development. This is not surprising, given that a psychosocial impairment often accompanies pain. Furthermore, the vast majority of the physicians who responded believed that the subspecialty was a worthwhile investment.
Nevertheless, a majority of the physicians reported that they had acquired only a small amount of the knowledge and skills required to be a pain specialist. For instance, only about one-third said they had received enough training in addiction management. Another large number of physicians reported that they needed to receive more training in mental or emotional treatment. Despite this, many physicians believe that the subspecialty is prone to burnout.
The subspecialty may also have a high burnout rate compared to other professions. Specifically, at least half of the doctors who completed the survey reported experiencing professional burnout. The same proportion believed that working as a pain specialist would lead to similar burnout.
The subspecialty is an excellent way for doctors to learn new things and improve their career prospects. However, it is also a complex discipline to learn. For example, a pain specialist must have many skills and a wide range of pharmacotherapy. Additionally, a pain doctor must know about interventional treatments, psychology-based interventions, and rehabilitative techniques.
Several states in the United States offer pain management board certification to physicians. However, not all of these pain specialists are created equal. Here are a few guidelines to help you find a qualified provider.
To become a pain management specialist, a physician must complete training in a medical specialty, pass a board exam in pain management, and maintain their license. A doctor can also be “double board certified,” demonstrating a high level of expertise in more than one specialty. A doctor can also receive additional training in pain medicine after completing a residency or fellowship.
The American Board of Anesthesiology, the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology all offer pain management board certification. While each board provides its standards, ABMS has the most rigorous.
The American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM) is a homeopathic physician’s group that includes nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals. The organization is affiliated with the American Medical Association and the Medical Society of the State of New York. The AAPM is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
The American Academy of Procedural Medicine is an organization of healthcare professionals offering several benefits. The organization’s primary purpose is to improve patient care and to provide board certification pathways. The organization has a database of procedures performed by its members.
The American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians is a specialty board. The board offers competency certifications in practice management, compliance, and controlled substances management. The examinations are computer-based and are administered by Pearson Professional Centers nationwide. Those who take the test are awarded a Board Certification Certificate.
The American Osteopathic Board of Anesthesiology administers primary and subspecialty certification exams. The ABA and the ABPMR jointly sponsor subspecialty certification in pain medicine. The requirements for subspecialty certification include a license to practice medicine in at least one jurisdiction in the United States and a one-year accredited fellowship in pain medicine.
The ABA administers an annual examination in pain medicine. Candidates must apply to the ABPN and meet the eligibility requirements. The ABA mails a notice to accepted candidates. The ABPN Credentials Committee reviews applicants’ documentation and makes a decision.
Having chronic pain can be debilitating. Fortunately, there are treatment options for pain management doctors that can help people cope. In addition to offering medication, they may recommend exercise, counseling, or meditation. This can improve mental health and reduce the symptoms of pain.
Medications may include over-the-counter remedies, prescription drugs, or more advanced procedures. Your physician may send you to a pain specialist if you have a long-term pain condition. If you are experiencing new pain, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
An injury or illness can cause the pain you experience. It can also be related to previous surgery. When pain is managed effectively, you may be able to regain your mobility. However, if it is chronic, it can prevent you from doing what you enjoy.
If a nerve problem causes your pain, you may need an injection. The injections deliver local anesthetics or cortisone directly to the area of pain. If the pain is related to the muscles, sympathetic nerve blocks can help.
Other types of treatments include acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. These methods are effective for reducing pain and improving alignment. If you have arthritis, viscosupplementation can be used to lubricate joints and relieve the pain.
For some patients, injections or physical therapy is enough to manage their pain. Injections may target a specific area, such as the epidural space. For others, more potent medicines are needed. These could include oxycodone, acetaminophen, codeine, and muscle relaxants.
For people who take opioids, there are several risks. For example, the habit of taking them can lead to addiction. If you choose to use opioids, follow your provider’s instructions and discuss any side effects.
If your pain worsens, your physician may need to modify your pain management plan. This can include switching from oral to subcutaneous pain pumps. You can also change from oral pain medication to a patch. Changing the method of delivery can increase the effectiveness of the drug.
Other treatments for chronic pain involve mind/body techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and lifestyle changes. The goal of these treatments is to reduce the symptoms of pain while increasing your daily function.
Outpatient vs. hospital clinics
Whether you seek pain management or any other medical treatment, you must decide between hospital clinics and outpatient facilities. A physician’s office is a traditional outpatient facility that provides various services. You may choose a physician’s office for its convenience or personal touch. Some physicians’ offices are multispecialty or focus on a specific area of medicine.
Medical clinics are usually smaller and less expensive. Some offer specialized services such as sexual health, addiction recovery, and mental health care. Others focus on primary care.
Typically, people go to a hospital for more serious, life-threatening conditions. However, many minor injuries and symptoms are also treated at medical clinics.
The main difference between outpatient and hospital clinics is that patients do not have to stay overnight. Some procedures performed at outpatient facilities are surgery, physical therapy, and wound care.
A good pain program will work with the patient’s goals and monitor their progress. They may offer support groups and other resources. They will help teach you how to manage your pain and make you more functional.
There are several important factors to consider when choosing between outpatient and hospital clinics. The first is cost. Patients pay higher rates for care at a hospital outpatient center. Those without supplemental insurance will pay 20% of the charge out-of-pocket. In addition, hospitals require patients to pay two co-pays.
In addition, outpatient service centers must be accredited by a recognized agency. They must be well-staffed and comfortable. It is essential to make sure that the tests used are accurate. They should also provide information about the fees and if they offer financial assistance.
Those with chronic pain may want to find a specialist specializing in pain management. Some doctors may also offer sedation during treatments. It is essential to choose a compassionate doctor with medical experience.
Outpatient service centers should be clean, comfortable, and staffed with experienced professionals. You should also check with the state medical board to verify that the center is registered and accredited.