About pain management services
What is a pain specialist?
It is important to understand that medical doctors who become pain specialists have undergone many layers of training. Firstly, they do their basic undergraduate training at University to become a medical doctor. Then they take a specialty like rehabilitation, rheumatology, psychiatry, anaethetics and others. After that they go on to do a pain specialty, a rigorous period of training indeed.
But that's not the end of the story. A good pain specialist will also have some personal qualities that you will pick up when you have your consultation. She or he will listen to you and take on board what you have to say and work with you to find solutions that work for you. See our fact sheet on "Choosing your team" for more on what to look for. This applies to your whole team, whether it is your pain specialist or other health professional.
What is a pain service?
In Australia there are three levels of pain service.
Level 1 Facility - Multidisciplinary Pain Clinic (MPC)
This is a multi-disciplinary pain clinic in a teaching hospital that has a number of specialists and other health profesionals who specialise in pain (nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, social worker, rehabilitation counsellor and others). This level of facility conducts research into pain.
Level 2 Facility - Pain Management Service (PMS)
The next level of facility has specialist physicians (doctors) as well as allied health staff who specialise in pain management, but at least a doctor and a psychologist or psychiatrist as well as two other non-physician health professionals are required to be categorised as a level 2 facility. There is no requirement to conduct research in a Level 2.
Level 3 Facility – Pain Practice or Single Modality/Body Region Clinic
This level of facility is often a "pain practice". It can be a single provider with specialised pain management training. There is an expectation that the provider will refer to a multi-disciplinary clinic (LEVEL 1 OR 2 FACILITY) when the person's pain problem is too complex for this level of facility.
There is more information about where to find a pain facility by going to the Australian Pain Society website