What do Pain Medicine Specialists do?

The day-to-day life of a pain specialist is very varied; time is usually split between anaesthetics, pain clinics and pain theatre lists. Some specialists choose to have an additional interest in acute pain and will have an acute pain ward round as part of their job plan.

Clinics can be consultant led, in tandem with another member of the team or run as an MDT (multidisciplinary team) clinic. The make-up of MDTs varies but is commonly a mix of specialists in pain management from the areas of medical, nursing, physiotherapy and psychology.

Common invasive procedures lists include interventions targeting the facet joint and its nerve supply, epidurals and simple peripheral nerve blocks. What else is offered varies considerably, and often develops once in a consultant post. There are increasing numbers of high tech interventions available to treat long-term chronic pain. Many centres offer radio frequency ablation and some specialist centres are carrying out neuromodulation with spinal cord stimulators and the insertion of implantable infusion devices.