So many times as you become familar with this site you will here references to Pain Management Doctors, PM doctors, Pain Clinics, etc.
There are some subtle differences depending on which area people are talking about. Here is some basic guidelines when it comes to identifying doctors:
Pain Management: Doctors Who Treat Pain
Pain specialists, or pain medicine doctors, are experts at diagnosing the cause of pain and then treating the pain. Anesthesiologists, neurologists, and neurosurgeons most frequently specialize in pain management. Some physiatrists also specialize in pain management. Here's more about these specialists:
Anesthesiologists These doctors are often the leaders of a team of other specialists and doctors who work together to help manage pain. The team may include orthopedists (doctors who deal with the prevention or correction of injuries or disorders of the skeletal system), nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical or rehabilitation therapists, and others.
Neurologists Doctors who diagnose and treat diseases of the nervous system.
Neurosurgeons Doctors who perform surgery on the nervous system.
Physiatrists Doctors who specialize in physical medicine, which is a branch of medicine that deals with the treatment, prevention and diagnosis of disease by physical means including manipulation, massage, and exercise.
What to Expect When You See a Pain Specialist
Pain medicine doctors will work closely with your primary care doctor to assess the cause of the pain and find an appropriate treatment option. Most likely, the pain specialist will perform a complete physical exam. In addition, the doctor will ask you to describe the pain you are feeling in detail, explaining where it hurts, how long it has been hurting, and what worsens or alleviates the pain.
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences