Pain Treatment Centers
Because this is a highly specialized field of medicine that is still growing, not every community has a pain treatment center yet. These centers are called by many different names, including: pain clinic, pain management center, pain center, pain unit or pain service. These facilities may be in a wing of your local hospital or medical center, in a separate medical-professional building or in a doctor's office. Some are affiliated with medical schools and large health care centers.
Where can I find a pain treatment center, and how do I decide if it's the right one for me?
There are many different forms of pain treatment and therapy, and one center may offer a service or specific kind of specialist that another center does not have. Some have pain medicine doctors on staff, and others may offer only nonmedical treatments such as acupuncture and massage therapy. Thus before consenting to treatment, it is best to find out what types of pain therapies are offered, what the specialists' credentials are and if they have successfully helped others with your type of pain.
To find a pain medicine doctor or pain specialist, generally your regular doctor should be able to refer you to an individual or group who offers services that are best for helping your specific pain problem. If your doctor is not able to refer you, try the sources below:
- Call your local hospital or medical center and ask if they have a pain treatment center there or if they are affiliated with a pain treatment center or clinic nearby.
- If your area does not have a specialized pain treatment center, ask the hospital to connect you to the Department of Anesthesiology. They may have doctors on staff who can provide treatment or who can refer you to another hospital.
- If your local hospital does not have information on a pain treatment center, contact the nearest school of medicine, which is usually affiliated with a private college or state university. (Medical school listings are available at the public library.) Ask them if they offer pain treatment or if they have research programs that study pain.
- Contact the American Society of Anesthesiologists. While ASA does not maintain a list of pain centers nationwide, we may be able to assist you with some additional information in your area.
Throughout the generations, pain has been a unique, often misunderstood condition that affects every age, gender, ethnic and social group all over the world. It can occur for many reasons, and there is no one "silver bullet" that can cure pain. Yet great progress in pain medicine has been made in recent years and is expected to advance further as doctors learn more about the causes of pain.
Anesthesiologists, through ASA, will continue to support research, medical training and patient education to help those who suffer from pain - whether it is acute, chronic or cancer pain - so these patients can live comfortably and be productive members of their families and communities.