Patients in pain are often confused about what type of doctor to call, and worry that perhaps all a doctor can do for them is prescribe a powerful drug. What many people do not know is there are physicians with specialized training in pain management who have numerous effective techniques at their disposal--some that involve prescribing medication, but many that do not.
One type of doctor skilled in treating pain is a physiatrist - pronounced fizz-EYE-a-trist - not to be confused with a podiatrist or psychiatrist. Trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation, physiatrists are highly skilled at diagnosing and treating acute pain, chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders.
These pain management specialists have in-depth knowledge of the physiology of pain, the ability to evaluate patients with complicated pain problems, an understanding of specialized tests needed for diagnosing painful conditions, and the appropriate skills and knowledge needed to treat serious pain.
Very often your primary care physician will refer you to a physiatrist, but this step is usually not necessary. You can call to make an appointment directly--perhaps before you call an orthopedist, neurologist, or chiropractor--depending on your condition.