Living with Chronic Pain

Medical Specialists Associated With Pain Management


Various types of medical specialists work in pain management. Before a physician can complete a subspecialty training or fellowship in pain management, they must complete a residency training program. Currently, a residency in pain management does not exist, so physicians must choose a different specialty for their residency. As a result, a doctor can train in any medical specialty and choose to focus their career on pain management. The specialties most often associated with pain management include the following:

  • Physiatry or physical medicine and rehabilitation
  • Anesthesiology
  • Interventional radiology

A pain specialist is either an MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). Some pain specialists are fellowship-trained or board-certified in pain management. Specialized education within the field of pain management is available as well. For example, some physiatrists have advanced training in interventional pain management, or IPM, which includes training in pain management treatments, such as nerve blocks and spinal cord stimulation.

A pain clinic may also employ other types of specialists — for example, physicians who specialize in general medicine, internal medicine, neurology, rheumatology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, or psychiatry.

Since pain management specialists focus on an individual’s overall quality of life, they typically work to coordinate care with other specialists on an interdisciplinary team. Other health care professionals on such a team may include psychiatrists, psychologists, certified physician’s assistants, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, licensed acupuncturists, chiropractors, and occupational therapists.

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