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What Do Pain Management Doctors Do? | OrthoAtlanta

What Do Pain Management Doctors Do?

Pain management doctors, also known as pain specialists or physiatrists, help patients by treating medical conditions that are causing pain or limiting function. The goal of pain management doctors is to provide a full spectrum of care. Starting from your very first appointment, you should expect to be led from initial diagnosis to rehabilitation.

Types of Pain Management Doctors

Pain management doctors are specialists with at least a decade of training that makes them highly knowledgeable about providing patient care. There are two types of pain management doctors, one being interventional pain management doctors and the other being medical pain management doctors.

Those who practice interventional pain are trained in advanced pain management procedures. They complete six years of training after their initial bachelor and medical degree to learn how to manage conditions such as nerve blockage or procedures like spine injections or implants.

Those who practice medical pain management work with patients with chronic conditions that may require long-term care. They are skilled in navigating medications related to long-term treatment like narcotics.

Types of Pain Treated

These doctors see a variety of cases in their line of work. Pain can stem from all kinds of disorders which is why this is a broad field for doctors to cover. The main categories of pain that these doctors fall into include pain from tissue injury, nerve disorders, or mixed pain disorders.

Tissue injury- these include various arthritis disorders like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Nerve disorders- these include conditions such as stroke, MS, spinal cord injuries, or nerve pain that is related to HIV, shingles, etc.

Mixed pain disorders- these include back or neck pain and cancer.


Your first few meetings with your pain management doctor will consist of diagnosing your condition. This might involve looking at past medical visits and records, your medication list, and performing a physical examination. Your doctor could also order additional diagnostic tests such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan to pinpoint the issue.

Treatments and Medications

Once the diagnosis is determined, your doctor will create a plan for you to manage your pain. This could involve taking medications, attending physical therapy, or a participating in a combination of treatments to address the problem.

Oftentimes, first line treatment will involve using medications or therapy. The medicine can help reduce inflammation, relax your muscles, or address other points of pain. Therapy is a good route to go either on its own or in conjunction with medications. Doctors may also prescribe exercise, medication, dietary changes, or chiropractic visits.

If these first line therapies do not work, your doctor may resort to stronger medications as well as procedures to help manage the pain such as neurostimulation, inserting spacers into the spine, or radio ablation.

Call us at (770) 953-6929 or visit us online to get in touch with our team of health professionals. We offer live telehealth video visits and in-person appointments. Learn more about our pain management providers here.

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