A Pain Medicine Specialist is a medical doctor trained in the evaluation, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of people in pain. The objective of the pain management physician is to provide quality care to the patient suffering from pain. The pain physician may work in a variety of settings and is competent to treat the entire range of pain encountered in delivery of quality health care. Some pain may be the result of another condition or disorder and some pain is the primary condition that requires treatment, such as neuropathic pains or headaches.


Pain Medicine Specialists use a broad-based approach to treat all pain disorders, ranging from pain as a symptom of disease to pain as the primary disease. Some of these approaches include:

  • prescribing medication
  • prescribing rehabilitative services
  • performing pain relieving procedures
  • counseling patients and families
  • directing a multidisciplinary team
  • coordinating care with other health care providers
  • providing consultative services to public and private agencies pursuant to optimal health care delivery to the patient suffering from pain.


Evaluation techniques include interpretation of historical data; review of previous laboratory, imaging, and electrodiagnostic studies; assessment of behavioral, social, occupational, and avocational issues; and interview and examination of the patient by the pain specialist. Pain Medicine specialists typically formulate comprehensive treatment plans, which consider the patients’ cultural contexts, as well as the special needs of the pediatric and geriatric populations.

Chronic Pain

Medicine treats injury and pathology to support and speed healing; and treats distressing symptoms such as pain to relieve suffering during treatment and healing. When a painful injury or pathology is resistant to treatment and persists, when pain persists after the injury or pathology has healed, and when medical science cannot identify the cause of pain, the task of medicine is to relieve suffering. Treatment approaches to chronic pain include pharmacological measures, such as analgesics, antidepressants and anticonvulsants, interventional procedures, physical therapy, physical exercise, application of ice and/or heat, and psychological measures, such as biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy.


David Lee, MD
Physical Medicine/Rehab/Pain Management
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