Pain Management Specialist?

Updated on October 20, 2010
J.V. asks from Effort, PA
12 answers

Long story short, my husband has had long standing problems with his neck. He recently saw another neuologist who wants to send him to a pain management specialist. What does a pain management specialist do for their patients? I'm concerned that we are going to end up with another cupboard full of pain killers again. While I am no fan of the idea of surgery on his neck, I'm not sure I want to have a pain killer junkie either.

Edit: i guess I made my question too brief. When this first started 2+ years ago, he saw his GP, an orthopedic doctor, a neurologist who conducted an MRI, NCV and a list of drugs including Flexeril, Neurontin and Morphine. All of these meds made a mess out of my husband, in one way or another. He saw another Neck/Back specialist who just did another MRI and has given hubby 2 shots in his neck over the course of 2 years, the last 1 just recently but no relief. He saw a chiropractor with no relief and is now at another neurologist who ordered another MRI with contrast and an EMG. Now taking Mobic and using Lidocaine patches. This doc wants him to see the pain management specialist. More drugs?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all of the input. He has already had 2 cortisone shots in his neck, countless visits to the chiropractor, a TENS machine and I wish it was psychosomatic. As it turns out, his MRI with contrast is showing marked degenerative changes, bone spurs, spondylolisthesis, stenosis and a few other anomolies. He has an appointment with a surgeon next week.

Featured Answers

D.S.

answers from Allentown on

Hi, J.:

Write and state this to Dr. James Stein at

[email protected]____.com

Hope this helps.
Good luck.
D.

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M.O.

answers from Chicago on

I went to this type of specialist too, and for my neck too after a "fender bender". The dr that I went to was not a drug pusher. He was very into exercises, changing your lifestyle to (at least temporarily) adjust to limited mobility and doing more "preventative" measures - for me, like taking motrin before I did any heaving lifting or lots of bending which I knew would aggravate my neck.

They also do things for more severe issues like localized epidurals for pain management for people that have chronic or degenerative issues.

For me, this doctor brought up long term ideas and suggestions and explanations that my dr, chiropractor and physical therapist hadn't.

Thankfully, I have made a full recovery and really feel that his advice was the best I'd gotten. Maybe equally as important, he was able to validate my feelings of pain, frustration, and concern about my future in a way that no one else was. He has tons of patients with bad, bad, bad, long term issues, so my "fender bender" neck injury was relatively easy for him. After going through an ER, my dr, a chiro and physical therapy with not a lot of relief. This dr was able to explain WHY, what probably happened and gave suggestions on how to help me heal. So not only did he treat my injury, but he helped me prevent more injuries and saved my sanity by explaining that just because all the other drs couldn't help me fix it, didn't mean that it was all just in my head.

Go see the dr. Maybe he is a pain killer pusher. If he is, go see a different dr. They're not all like that.

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J.R.

answers from Philadelphia on

A pain management specialist is really the best doctor to see. They will offer ALL sorts of options and actually are more likely to avoid medications than other physicians. There are so many non-pharmacological options for pain manageme: physical therapy, TENS units, massage, chiropractic care, etc. A pain management specialist can help your husband find the best treatments for his particular situation and can hopefully find long-term treatments instead of just short-term fixes like meds which just mask the pain.

1 mom found this helpful
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S.A.

answers from New York on

I had a terrible neck injury after back surjery. Dr. said surjery is too risky and cause paralisis to all my limbs. He suggested pain mgmt.That usually means drugs and therapy. I would go with him to the Dr and see what they are offering. Personally, I dont want the drugs. I need all my wits about me as a mom of six. I am considering acupuncture. Scary, but I heard its great and no drugs.

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V.F.

answers from Scranton on

Has he had an MRI done? This is important to know whether or not there are bulging discs or not. Have him try to find a Chiropractor that has a decompression table this would probably help long term. It helps to stretch them out and get the pressure off of the discs.

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L.G.

answers from Philadelphia on

My husband has neck and back nerve/ disk damage and had the Epidural done...I think this the best option just my opinion. With most insurances they allow 3 shots. He is about to get the last one for they year. But with each one he got better. Talk with your pain management doctor and tell him what you and your husband want out of treatment. good luck.

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M.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

I had a problem with a neck injury. I saw a neurologist, an ENT,a dental surgeon, a acupuncturist MD, and my primary care MD. Not one of these people put two and two together. What happened was a dental appointment, and her impatience with my apparent failure to "numb up" enough for drilling, after about the eighth attempt of a novacane(?) injection, she jammed the needle in, I jerked downwards and back in my chair, and compressed a few discs, in my neck.
After 9 months of going to different doctors, and being given pain killer after pain killer, my nurse practitioner walked me across the parking lot to the office of a wonderful Chiropractor. It was this guy who relieved the pressure off of my trigeminal(?) nerve by lifting the discs back into place. My advice is to seek out a good Chiropractor. These guys (and Gals) really know the spine.

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N.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

This is a weird, controversial thing, but has your husband heard of tension myositis syndrome? You can google it and Dr. John Sarno.

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B.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

i broke my neck in a car accident and saw specialist after specialist and they ALL gave me painkillers and anti-inflammatories!! i agree w/joanna's anti-inflam. diet as that was also suggested to me, but my chiropractor is what changed my life!! everyone else wanted to treat only the symptoms - the pain - while the chiro fixed what was causing the pain! not sure where u live, but i go to hockessin chiropractic. i drive an hour to go there myself, but its so worth it!!

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

i am a nutritionist and work with pain management all the time. and i do get my clients on an anti-inflammatory diet. get the pro-infflammatory foods out of your diet (fried foods, wheat, potatoes, tomotoes, etc) and increase the anti-inflammatory foods (alkalizing, greens, fish oils, etc)
with all of my clients who come in with pain, once they get on the anti-inflammatory diet, the pain subsides after a month or two. so if he has not tried something like that, then he should consider it.
J.
www.nutrition-in-motion.net

T.M.

answers from Bakersfield on

My Pain Management specialist told me of my options and what he thought would be best for my condition. He probably will start a regimen of pain killers and may offer an ESI which has helped me tremendously. I'd tell your hubby to opt for the epidural, do what the doc says to do afterwards (rest) and his pain will be much easier to manage.

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C.C.

answers from Springfield on

Hi, I thought this way until I became friendly with a neigbor who is this type of doctor. He is super leary of addictive pills. He told us about shots they give between vertebrae that help block nerves and therefore hide the pain.
His father now walks without looking crippled. It is an amazing recovery.

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