Who Knows Something About Pain Pain Management Anesthesiology?

Question by Anom: Who knows something about pain pain management anesthesiology?
I’m a medical student in first year, and I’m leaning towards pain management anesthesiology. What are some of the positives, drawbacks of this career? Also what is the common consensus on where this specialty is going in the next fifteen years?

Best answer:

Answer by Mathieu
Pain specialists (which do not have to be anesthesiologists) are in great demand and are becoming more important due to the number of people who need pain control and the number abusing opioids. Pain management more easily allows a doctor to serve his patients, even patients with a drug abuse problems. Some aspects of using opioids like tolerance, physical dependency, withdrawal, and addiction are commonly misunderstood by most doctors so they may use medications inappropriately. A lot of people, for example, think that physical dependency is addiction so if a doctor goes on vacation and a patient runs out of medicine he might go into horrible withdrawal then some doctors would brand that as addiction when it is not. Also techniques involving adjacent drugs (muscle relaxants, NSAID’s, benzodiazepines, amphetamines…) are going to be much better understood by a specialist.

An anestesologist would be able to preform things like an epidural steroid injection and use of these types of procedures is growing.

So there is no doubt that now and in 15 years there will be a huge demand.

That brings me to the major downside, opiophobia. Even with a huge demand there are not many doctors going into pain management because doctors are afraid that they could lose their license or even be jailed. Like all phobia’s the fear is irrational but there certainly is worry. But a good pain specialist documents everything, gets prior medical records, has all patients sign a pain contract, does random drug testing, and typically provides referral’s to psychiatry or psychology for mood disorders or substance abuse and any other type of help a patient may need.

But still there will be drug seekers trying to con your for drugs and you will likely fall for it sometimes.

But aside from the demand the big positive is being able to help people in pain who may only be able to live a normal life with treatment. Pain is completely debilitating and costs the economy billions. You might also be helping people who have not been able to get any help before (due to opiophobia) or people who truly need pain control but currently or previously abused opioids. People with a history of opioid abuse are most likely to not get pain management and you might actually help recovering addicts avoid going back to illegal drug use to help with pain, not the high.

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