Re: I am being sent to a Pain Management Dr.
Here is the technical explanation.
Once MDs finish medical school they are required to complete a residency. Depending on the speciality (surgery, anth, etc) residency can be anywhere from 3-6 years. Residency is very general training in the begining and becomes more specific in the end. For example year one is a rotation of all specilities, from OB to ER. Then the training is more specific to the area they have chossen. PM is a subspecialty, meaning following residency one must complete a fellowship in PM, then take seperate board and licensing exams in PM. If the PM doc is from an aneth background (which is generally felt to be the best background to come from for PM) then they have 2 certifications, aneth and PM although your doc may no longer practice in the or (general anth) he is still considered an aneth.
As far as what they do, they are largely seen as diagnoticians and managers of complex cases. They can manage narcotics, perform discograms, injections, as well as implant pain pumps and stimulators. They are trained on the whole body connection and will have more experince with neuro, chemical and emotional triggers of pain than your surgeon.
THe biggest thing to keep in mind is that this speciality is realtively new, therefore they approach pain very diffrently than classicly trained surgeons. My oppinion is that a good PM is invaluable.