The different type of doctor or specialist you will need to see will depend on what type of injury you have, where you are in the process and whether or not a doctor feels you may be a surgical candidate. Before a doctor or surgeon is ready to recommend you undergo surgery, they may want you to see a pain management doctor first. Pain management doctor come in two varieties, short and long term pain management. Short term pain management will typically involve injections of different types of steroids into a part of your body to give the nerves time to heal thus temporarily relieving the pain. This usually only gives relief for 2 or 3 months at a time but can alleviate symptoms permanently in 5 or 6 months if successful. Over time, the body may become resistant to the medications being given and the period of relief will shorten accordingly. Thus, it is more likely that pain management will only work for 4 to 6 months until the patient’s pain returns.
Long term pain medication is highly regulated and discouraged even by many doctors and lawyers as the mass prescription of opiates and other addictive pain medication can have an adverse effect on a client’s life. Your lawyers and your doctors, are looking to help their patients/clients not make them worse and are aware that patients can easily become addicted to that medication and negatively effect their lives and injury cases.
After all options have been exhausted a doctor may decide that a patient is a candidate for surgery. However it should be noted that some patients don’t want to have the pain management injections that go along with short term pain management and don’t want to take the risk of becoming chemical dependent. Thus, sometimes the patients will seek surgical advice without first undergoing this type of treatment. Additionally, it should be noted that many surgeons recognize the limitations of short and long term pain management and if the patient continues to have severe symptoms will agree to do surgery on the patient without first undergoing pain management.
This is a decision between you and your doctor and is serious but yet because of the negative consequences of long term pain management and the limited effectiveness of short term pain management, a large number of surgeons may recommend skipping this step all together. There are a number of minimally evasive procedures which the medical protocols do not require or suggest that pain management may be an option prior to having them. This applies not just to knee and shoulder surgery but also to certain types of neck and back surgery.