There’s a lot of confusion in the medical community regarding who is and who is not a pain management doctor. You may have come across clinics advertising as pain management specialists, even when there is not a pain management trained physician practicing in the office. Let’s explore four key items that you need to look for if you need a pain management physician.
What to look for in a pain management physican
- Look for an office that has board-certified pain management physicians. We explored what it means to be board-certified in another post, be sure to read about the board certification process. In short, these are doctors that have done extra subspecialty training solely in the practice of pain management. Make sure that you research your doctor and investigate his or her credentials. You can search for your physician’s name on the primary certifying board, such as here for the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for Dr. Keogh. Don’t be afraid to ask personally about his or her training and experience if not clear.
How your pain management physician is involved in your care
- You want your physician active in your ongoing plan of care. Most offices utilize advanced practice providers (APPs), such as a physician assistant (PA) or a nurse practitioner (NP), for ongoing care. At ECPC Pain Specialists, our APPs are incredibly skilled in the management of painful condition. Even with the experience of our APPs, we believe in the importance of a team-based approach. We make a point to actively collaborate with our APPs in ongoing patient care. Ask if and how the physician will be involved in your follow up appointments.
The promised results
- They need to offer realistic treatment outcomes. Have you heard the saying if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is? The same holds true in the medical field. Some offices may promise a definitive fix or cure for a problem that is unrealistic. We’ve seen this commonly when it’s related to unproven or still investigational treatments. Of course, some great treatments are investigational, or possibly off-label, but it is good to know. Some of these treatments are not covered by insurance and you will have to pay out of pocket. Your doctor should be able to explain if the treatment they propose is still experimental. It’s important to have a discussion with your physician about the realistic outcomes and likelihood of improvement after a treatment. Make sure that you ask!
How you are treated
- They treat you kindly! We wish this didn’t need to be said, but we see patients who feel that they have been treated poorly at other offices. It is upsetting to hear this, as we feel it’s our duty to not only help physical pain, but also not to cause further psychological suffering. Most of us have suffered with pain at least once in our life and are aware of the emotional toll it can take. At ECPC Pain Specialists we take great pride in treating our patients well. We believe in providing a caring environment for our patients to heal both physically and emotionally. Make sure you don’t feel mistreated at your appointments and seek care elsewhere if you do!
Hopefully these four recommendations have provided useful information to you. Are you suffering with pain currently? Are you currently seeing another pain management provider and can’t say yes to all the above? We are always happy to see new patients at our practice, so feel free to contact us for a consultation! Know that you’ll always receive compassionate care from your board-certified pain physicians at ECPC Pain Specialists!