Pain medicine is a medical subspecialty that is responsible for the management of patients with acute or chronic pain using physical, pharmacological, interventional and psychological techniques. Pain medicine specialists nearly always work in a multidisciplinary setting.
What conditions are treated by a pain medicine specialist?
Pain medicine specialists treat different types of pain (acute and chronic). Acute pain can be described as the pain felt following surgery, trauma and a range of conditions. Chronic pain can be described as pain that is long-lasting and may be symptomatic of various medical conditions, following injury or pain derived from the central and peripheral nervous system.
Hence, pain medicine specialists commonly treat the following problems:
What subspecialties are included under pain medicine?
Pain medicine is a subspecialty of anaesthesia which is the medical specialty that deals with giving anaesthesia for surgery and childbirth, as well as treating different forms of pain. Other subspecialties of anaesthesia include pre-hospital emergency medicine and intensive care medicine. Pain specialists may choose to focus on specific areas, such as cancer pain, paediatric pain medicine, spinal cord stimulation, genitourinary pain or visceral pain.
When should I see a pain medicine specialist?
You would be treated by a pain medicine specialist if you were experiencing acute or chronic pain resulting from the conditions described above. You might also see a pain specialist as part of your cancer treatment, to manage the associated pain. In terms of seeing a doctor about chronic pain, you should seek medical advice if the pain you are experiencing is not going away.