According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 50 million American adults living with chronic pain, 20 million of whom are affected by high-impact chronic pain (i.e., accompanied by major activity restriction).
Chronic pain is defined as one that has lasted over 12 weeks, or beyond the usual recovery period for an injury or a surgical procedure. Regardless of its cause, chronic pain can have a detrimental effect on virtually every aspect of a person’s life— causing emotional distress, undermining their well-being, and hindering them from fulfilling family, social, and job-related roles.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain, your best bet is to see a pain management doctor, who can perform a series of tests to pinpoint its underlying cause and devise an effective treatment strategy to keep it from interfering with your quality of life. Let’s explore some specific tests pain management physicians order or perform to get to the bottom of chronic pain.
Assessment of Your Medical History
Your pain management doctor will likely first do a thorough review of your medical history to help determine the culprit in your chronic pain—whether it’s an untreated or nonhealing injury, surgery-related trauma, or a progressive condition (e.g., arthritis).
The doctor may then ask you questions about your pain, such as whether it has accompanying symptoms, when it started, what triggers it, as well as what treatments you may have tried. The doctor may also ask you to describe your pain in detail – whether it is sudden in onset, sharp, burning, dull, or throbbing.
Your pain management doctor will also likely palpate the area where you feel the pain to check for tender points as well as assess your range of motion (to see how far and how well you can move a certain joint), posture, and general physical condition. Your doctor will monitor your movements to see which of them exacerbate your pain.
Medical Imaging Tests
Medical imaging tests pain management doctors usually order to investigate the cause of chronic pain include X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Your pain management doctor may use any or all of these to check for problems in your musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, muscles, and other soft tissues).
Electromyography and/or Nerve Conduction Study
Your pain management doctor may also carry out an electromyography (EMG) to evaluate how well your muscles are responding to nerve impulses and check for any signs of problems with nerve-to-muscle signal transmission. Your doctor may perform an EMG together with a nerve conduction study to diagnose or rule out neuromuscular conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune disorder in which your antibodies destroy the communication between your muscles and nerves), and peripheral neuropathy.
In some cases, your pain management doctor may give you a referral to a neurologist for an assessment of your motor and sensory function, balance, and coordination to identify any potential signs of nervous system disorder like multiple sclerosis (MS).
Pain Management Doctor in Melbourne, FL
At Central Florida Spine & Pain, Dr. Nicholas Giordano, our board-certified interventional pain management doctor, has established a solid reputation for the effective, non-surgical solutions he provides for the wide range of conditions and injuries that cause chronic pain. He will work closely with you to determine the most suitable treatment option for you—helping you live well with pain no matter the complexity of your condition.
To arrange a consultation with Dr. Giordano, call us today at (321) 802-5021 or use our convenient appointment request form, and our staff member will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your schedule.