8 Specialists Who Treat Pain

It is possible with the right support and treatment. Although you may have already seen your regular doctor, there are experts who specialize in pain management who can help you and your doctor find relief.

1. Pain Medicine Specialists

They treat many types of pain including those caused by injury or surgery as well as nerve damage and other conditions such diabetes. They can also treat pain without a clear cause. They may use targeted injections or medications that are administered by mouth.

For a list of specialists, visit the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s (www.painmed.org), and the American Board of Pain Medicine’s (www.abpm.org).

2. Orthopedic Specialists and Surgeons

They treat injuries and diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system. This includes your bones, joints and ligaments as well as your muscles. Some specialize in specific parts of the body, such as the hips, knees and shoulders. After diagnosing your injury or disorder they will create a treatment plan which may include medication. They may also recommend physical therapy or refer you to one. This will help to restore your movement, strength and function and to teach you how you can prevent future problems. They have the ability to perform surgery if necessary.

You can find one by visiting the American Academy of Orthopaedic Medicine’s website (www.aaomed.org), or the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ website (www.aaos.org).

3. Osteopathic doctors

They treat: Osteopathic doctors are similar to doctors who have gone to medical school but have the DO after their names, instead of MD. However, they also receive additional training in the musculoskeletal systems, which includes nerves and muscles.

How to find one: Go to the website of the American Osteopathic Association (www.osteopathic.org).

4. Rheumatologists

They treat: Rheumatic conditions such as arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. You may be offered medicines, pain-blocking or anti-inflammatory injections to your joints or tendons.

How to find one: Go to the American College of Rheumatology’s website (www.rheumatology.org).

5. Rehabilitation Physicians and Physiatrists

They treat injuries and conditions that impact your movement. They treat pain related nerves, muscles and bones, including pain from the carpal tunnel, neck, back, and arthritis. They also treat pain after surgery.

Find one by visiting the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation’s website (www.aapmr.org).

6. Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapy

They treat people who have had surgery or suffered injury. To ease pain and improve mobility, physical therapists can use heat, stretching, heat and ice. Physical therapists often follow orders from physiatrists.

You can find them on the websites of the American Physical Therapy Association and American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

7. Acupuncturists

What they treat: Acupuncturists can treat a variety of pain conditions, such as headaches, sciatica and sprains. The needles are very thin and can be inserted into specific areas of your body to promote healing. Most people don’t feel any discomfort, even though needles may sound frightening.

How to find one: Go to the websites of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (aaaomonline.org), the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (www.nccaom.org), or the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (www.medicalacupuncture.org).

8. Chiropractors

They treat: Although back pain is the most common reason people visit chiropractors, these specialists can treat all types of pain, injuries and accidents, including chronic headaches. Although they don’t prescribe medication, they can offer relief through hands-on methods.

How to Find One: Visit the American Chiropractic Association’s Website (www.acatoday.org), and click on the “Find A Doctor” link.

Updated 01/24/22