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When should I see a pain specialist?

People develop pain for many reasons. Pain from a recent surgery, injury or medical illness is called acute pain. In many cases, this pain can be managed immediately and will usually get better in just a short time. For more serious pain, however, your primary care doctor may consult a pain medicine doctor, often an anesthesiologist, to help manage your pain while you are healing.

If your pain persists after the healing process should be over, you may have what is called chronic pain. If the current treatment you are receiving stops working or your pain begins to get worse over time, your primary care doctor may suggest that you see a pain medicine doctor. In this chronic condition, the pain is the illness and not the symptom.

Cancer pain is another condition that can be managed by a pain medicine doctor while the patient continues to receive treatment for various types of cancer. The pain can be due to cancer surgery or treatment procedures, including radiation therapy and chemotherapy, or the cancer itself.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.