What Does A Pain Doctor Do?

By: Adrian Cruce

A pain doctor can specialize in several areas of pain medicine. There are many names for this kind of medical practice: pain specialist, pain doctor, or pain osteopath. The pain specialist is usually a pulmonologist or an otolaryngologist. His or her specialties are to treat pain both in the acute and chronic stages of disease.

The First Visit

During his first visit, the pain management specialist will ask about the medical history of the patient and perform a physical examination. The doctor will also want to know about the family medical history, if the patient has any past or present problems, the physical environment, and any allergies. This person also performs some diagnostic tests to rule out other diseases that may be causing the pain. This person probably makes a referral to a specialist for more in-depth testing if necessary.

Referring To Other Specialists

The pain doctor may refer the patient to an orthopedic specialist for a foot, ankle, and hip exam to determine the nature of the pain and to find out the cause. In the acute stage of a chronic condition, the pain doctor will often prescribe medications to alleviate the condition. He or she will give the patient a thorough physical examination, order laboratory tests, ask questions to make sure the cause is found and recommend therapy and drugs for treatment. The patient may be referred to a specialist for a more comprehensive treatment.


During the first visit, the pain doctor checks the patient’s temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, pallor and color, and clarity of vision. He or she might also do some test such as electrocardiogram, x-ray, muscle function test, and skin biopsy. He or she might even ask the patient to write down their emotional state as well as their feelings on any occasions when they have experienced symptoms. The first visit typically does not include any medication prescriptions. Instead, the patient is expected to return to the office every few weeks for a follow-up visit that includes medications or perhaps an operation if the condition is ongoing.

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Some doctors specialize only in treating a certain type of chronic pain or diseases. For example, there are many different specialized physicians who treat arthritis and other conditions. Orthopedic doctors can treat problems such as joint pain and injuries, and sports medicine doctors treat athletes’ injuries. Other specialists are involved with several different chronic conditions, such as pediatrics, gynecology, menopause, women’s health, and women’s reproductive health.

Physicians work at clinics, like this pain clinic in Little Rock all around the country. Many of these physicians started out by specializing in surgery or other types of medical treatment. Today, these physicians can treat a variety of patients including pain patients, chiropractors, physical therapists, podiatrists, surgeons, and other kinds of doctors. There are many different pain clinic locations all over the United States.