A pain management physician has a broad range of experience to diagnose and treat all types of pain. With a multidisciplinary approach to the anatomy of the body, and a specialized approach that can come from various specialties of physicians, this type of doctor also has tools for more specific diagnoses and the treatment of pain than an internal medicine physician. An internist may be able to identify where the pain is felt but not necessarily where the source of the pain is. In addition, he or she may only be able to prescribe prescription medication and physical therapy, which may not be addressing the issue of the pain itself. With pain affecting more than 50 million individuals a year, with a tremendous cost to our country in health care costs, lost productivity of workers and the emotional stress it puts on the patient and family, pain management is a specialty that’s growth is welcomed.Pain Management MD CurriculumA physician trained in pain management will have completed four years of undergraduate study and four years of medical school studying anatomy and physiology and pharmacology with hands-on experience. The graduate will have a doctorate degree in anesthesiology, physical rehabilitation or psychiatry and neurology and have spent one to two years residency with a possible several years of fellowship training in a specific area of pain management.Pain management covers a broad range of specialties including internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, psychiatry, neurology, neurological surgery and physiatry, as all of these fields are pertinent in the whole approach treatment of pain. Once a physician has dedicated himself to the practice of pain medicine, there are supporting organizations such as the American Academy of Pain Management and statewide organizations that provide funding for research and assistance with news and technology.Types of PainA pain management physician covers a broad area of study, with every part of the body subject to pain. Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts longer than an acute injury – such as a muscle strain, infection or surgical site – would normally last. There is also pain that occurs as a result of a medical condition such as cancer, arthritis, scoliosis, osteoporosis or degenerative disc disease, as well as pain that seems to have no evidence of previous injury or medical condition. The pain can come in the form of headaches, back pain, and referred pain in which the injury affects nerves that affect other parts of the body such as the arms in a neck condition or the legs in the case of a lower back nerve issue.Diagnosis EquipmentCorrect diagnosis is critical in managing pain. For all types of pain, x-rays, CAT scans and MRI are effective tools to look at the initial complaint of pain and something that an internal medicine physician could order. At a pain management physician’s office, specialized equipment, as well as the knowledge to operate it and assess the results is there to treat it properly. For back pain, discography is a method to determine whether back pain is caused by invertebral discs, and a myleogram examines the nerves leaving the spinal cord. Thermography, measuring the heat of the body, and MR Neurography that can visualize nerves with MRI are newer technologies.When an individual is suffering from chronic pain, while an internal medicine physician may be able to refer a patient to a pain management physician, receiving diagnosis and treatment from a specialist will offer the most accurate treatment.