One in five adults in the U.S suffers from chronic pain.
Whether it’s your first time or the pain has become a daily occurrence, you must consult a pain management doctor. Not only will they give you a diagnosis but pain management doctors give you medication and advice on how to ease the discomfort.
If you’re in pain but aren’t sure whether it’s time to seek medical help, you’ve come to the right place. Here are seven signs you must visit a pain management doctor.
What Are Pain Management Doctors?
Before choosing a pain doctor, it’s important to understand what we mean by the term.
Pain management specialists have the qualifications to diagnose and treat chronic pain. This is defined as discomfort that progresses over an extended period of time and is often resistant to medical treatment.
You may go to a pain doctor if you’re suffering from back, neck, arm, or leg ailments. It also includes ongoing headaches, pain related to surgery, or cancer-related suffering.
At the appointment, ask questions to learn more about your ailment and about their expertise. For instance, ask:
- Can my pain be cured or simply managed?
- What kinds of pain treatments are available to me?
- Will lifestyle modifications reduce my pain?
Be open with the pain management specialist so you both arrive at a suitable treatment plan. They will also let you know if your pain occurs after a particular activity or if you have a reaction to a type of food.
Once you have this knowledge, you’ll know what to expect during your pain management journey.
Signs You Should Visit a Pain Management Doctor
Whether you need to visit a back pain doctor or shoulder pain doctor, there are tell-tale signs you shouldn’t wait. It’s important to find a reputable physician so they can suggest new medicine and return you to health.
Consider these, for example:
- Your Pain Won’t Go Away
The problem with chronic pain is it can become tolerable because you’re so used to it. But, for instance, if your kneecap is aching after three months, you must visit the knee pain doctor to eliminate the discomfort.
Family doctors cover a wide area but a specialist can figure out where the pain is coming from, how to ease it, and prevent it from returning. Often, pain doctors have treatment options you’d never have considered.
- You Want to Try Alternative Methods of Pain Relief
You notice your neck pain medication, or over-the-counter medicine, is becoming less effective.
As a result, you increase the dosage to get the same effect but this is a slippery slope. If you constantly do this, you could become addicted, overly dependent, or cause further damage to your body.
Sound familiar? If so, contact a neck pain doctor as they will cut down your medicine so you’re not reliant on it.
- Numbness or Tingling
You may experience numbness or mild tingling in your lower back which seems benign as it’s not constant pain. But if this persists for an extended period, visit a lower back pain doctor immediately.
These sensations could reveal a herniated disc or another ailment. Or they could indicate nerve damage if you feel tingling in your hands, fingers, feet, or toes. Another issue is when pain radiates to another part of your body like a limb. If so, schedule an appointment with a pain management doctor.
- Nocturnal Pain
Pain that worsens overnight is a sign there’s something wrong. At night, you should be able to limit your pain because you can change position to alleviate your discomfort.
But if the pain is keeping you awake, contact a pain management doctor. Lack of sleep is harmful to your health, both mentally and physically, which can further increase your pain
- Unable to Participate in Regular Activities
Are you finding it difficult to get out of bed? Stopped participating in your favorite hobbies? If the pain is preventing you from engaging in regular activities, you need to see a specialist.
It’s important to note chronic pain doesn’t mean you’re constantly suffering, it could arise when you engage in a specific activity.
Being unable to partake in your daily routine can cause depression which will worsen your pain. You must get pain treatment so the doctor can pinpoint the cause and find a solution so you can enjoy life again.
Further, another example is if an injury has reduced your mobility for a short period of time. But if it’s been over a month and your mobility hasn’t returned despite taking medication then seek help from a specialized pain doctor.
- Your Progress Has Plateaued
No one wants to constantly be suffering. Perhaps you have used a single technique to ease the pain but you’re not progressing as you should. If so, contact a pain management doctor so they can revitalize your treatment plan.
- You’ve Suffered a Traumatic Injury
Seeking medical attention after an injury sounds obvious but many patients overestimate how well their bodies have recuperated. For instance, a seemingly small fracture could also damage surrounding tissue like spinal nerves which could have terrible consequences.
So regardless of how minor an injury is, contact a pain management doctor if the discomfort isn’t going away.
That’s When You Should Visit a Pain Management Doctor
Now you know when to schedule an appointment with a pain management doctor.
Unlike your primary physician, pain doctors are specialized so they can pinpoint the problem and suggest an effective treatment.
It’s important to contact a pain doctor if you’ve been suffering for over a month, you’re relying on medication, or you still can’t do daily activities. Luckily, once you work with a reputable pain management doctor, they’ll help you return to normal life. Good luck!
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