Pain management specialists are physicians who specialize in treating acute and chronic pain, as well as cancer pain. They use medications, nerve blocks and spinal injections to alleviate pain, according to the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.
Cancer doctors, back surgeons, neurologists and primary care physicians typically refer patients to pain management specialists when needed. Pain management specialists study the physiology of pain and use physical exams, CAT scans, X-rays and MRIs to assess and diagnose pain in patients, as the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine explains. Pain management specialists may in turn refer patients to psychologists, surgeons or alternative therapists.