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The options below provide additional resources for finding a doctor, and what to do once you've made your selection.

  • Doctor Types- This section explains the types of doctors we have in our database.
  • Doctor Tips - This section helps you prepare for your first doctor visit. It offers key questions you need to ask, and gives you valuable advice.
  • Check On Your Doctor - This section gives you a list of resources in the United States to learn more about your doctor's background.
  • Additional Search Resources - This section contains a brief list of other web sites we recommend to perform your own search.

Doctor Types

There are several types of doctors who treat Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP). Our database consists of the following types of doctors:


Medical acupuncture is the application of acupuncture techniques by a physician. These physicians complete medical school and practice medicine in a hospital or private practice. They then complete a special education in Eastern acupuncture techniques. While the techniques are very similar to those used by other non-medical acupuncturists, many people feel more comfortable receiving acupuncture from a physician.


An anesthesiologist is a specialist in Perioperative Medicine. He or she specializes in care of a patient prior to, during and after surgery. This includes evaluating and preparing a patient to undergo the rigors of surgery. The anesthesiologist plans the anesthetic for the patient and then cares for the patient during the surgical procedure. He/she monitors the patient's blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and level of consciousness and analgesia. The anesthesiologist adjusts the anesthetic plan, medications, fluids, and other parameters to provide a safe, pain free surgical experience for the patient. He/she will take care of your medical needs during the operation so the surgeon can concentrate on the surgery. After the surgery, the anesthesiologist continues to provide the care necessary to ensure a smooth emergence from the anesthetic and pain control after your surgery. Anesthesiologists are specialists in control of both acute and chronic pain. They also are involved in the care of critically ill patients.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist:

A Nurse Anesthetist, or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), is a licensed professional nurse who provides the same anesthesia services as an anesthesiologist (MD). After completing extensive education and training, CRNAs become nationally certified; they may then practice in all 50 states.


Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, diagnose and treat patients with health problems of the musculoskeletal system and treat the effects of those problems on the nervous system and on general health. Many chiropractic treatments deal specifically with the spine and the manipulation of the spine. Chiropractic medicine is based on the principle that spinal joint misalignments interfere with the nervous system and can result in lower resistance to disease and many different conditions of diminished health.

The chiropractic approach to health care stresses the patient's overall health. Chiropractors provide natural, drugless, non surgical health treatments, relying on the body's inherent recuperative abilities. They also recognize that many factors affect health, including exercise, diet, rest, environment, and heredity. Chiropractors recommend changes in lifestyle that affect those factors. In some situations, chiropractors refer patients to or consult with other health practitioners.

General Practitioner:

A General Practitioner, or GP is a medical practitioner who provides primary care and specializes in family medicine. A general practitioner treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education for all ages and both sexes. They have particular skills in treating people with multiple health issues and co-morbidities.

The term general practitioner is common in Ireland, the United Kingdom, some other Commonwealth countries, and Bulgaria. In the English-speaking countries the word medical practitioner is largely reserved for certain other types of medical specialists, notably in internal medicine.


Internists are equipped to deal with a multitude of medical problems - no matter how common or rare, or how simple or complex. Internists are specially trained to solve diagnostic problems, handle chronic illnesses and situations where several different illnesses may strike at the same time.

An essential part of an internist's job is to bring patients to an understanding of "wellness." This includes disease prevention and the promotion of health. Whether the issue is women's health or the effective treatment of common problems, an internist is where you turn to first.

Licensed Massage Therapist:

Massage professionals are similarly known by many titles such as Massage Therapists, Licensed Massage Therapists (LMT's), Masseuses, or Masseurs. Even massage establishments are listed in our massage referrals. These massage professionals offer back massage, foot massage, full body massage, lower back pain treatment, neck and shoulder massage, relaxation massage, and sports and fitness massage. Massage increases circulation, muscle tone, and flexibility while also offering chronic back pain relief, Sciatica pain relief, lower back pain relief, neck pain relief, and even relief from headaches.

Licensed Master Social Worker:

A social worker is also a valuable part of the healthcare team, when hospital social workers work directly with families or with patients to help them meet certain needs. They may offer brief, as needed counseling, but they also have access to information on resources that might prove helpful to families or patients.

For instance, if a child is born with severe and disabling illness, a social worker can find temporary housing so parents can stay with the child, help the parents apply for special insurance or social security payments to care for the child, and work with the parents to make sure they understand the nature of care required when the child comes home. They take some of the burden off the parents in a situation like this, so parents can focus on care of their child. Similarly, social workers who work with the elderly in hospital settings may counsel patients or their children on resources available for long-term care as needed.

Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist:

Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists have been trained to follow a protocol for the proper diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain due to trigger points. It is this protocol that makes myofascial trigger point therapy an effective and comprehensive form of pain management. This protocol includes the following:

  • differential diagnosis
  • comprehensive patient history
  • pain mapping
  • range of motion evaluation
  • postural analysis
  • identification of perpetuating factors
  • correction of perpetuating factors
  • manual techniques to treat myofascial pain and dysfunction
  • personalized patient rehabilitation program
  • patient education


A neurologist is a medical doctor or osteopath who has trained in the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system disorders, including diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles.

Neurologists perform neurological examinations of the nerves of the head and neck; muscle strength and movement; balance, ambulation, and reflexes; and sensation, memory, speech, language, and other cognitive abilities.

They also perform diagnostic tests such as the following:

  • CAT (computed axial tomography) scan
  • MRI/MRA (magnetic resonance imaging/magnetic resonance angiography)
  • lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
  • EEG (electroencephalography)
  • EMG/NCV (electromyography/nerve conduction velocity)


A neuropsychiatrist is a physician (M.D. or D.O.) qualified to practice neuropsychiatry by virtue of either:

1. Primary training in either psychiatry or neurology followed by a period of at least one year of fellowship training in neuropsychiatry/behavioral neurology.

2. Formal residency training in both psychiatry and neurology.

Psychiatrists or neurologists with many years of extensive clinical, educational, and scientific experience in the field of neuropsychiatry may also merit this specialty designation.

Orthopedic Medicine:

Orthopedic Medicine is the non-surgical evaluation and treatment of the moving parts of the body. It is a "low-tech," hands-on approach for diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems. Although many of the treatments used by orthopedic physicians require medical or osteopathic licensure, the diagnostic schema and many of the basic treatment modalities are practical, effective, and easily integrated into the practices of many other alternative therapists.

In fact, many of the treatments consist of deep friction massage, for which many manual and physical therapists are trained and with which they are already familiar. This overview will outline in highly compressed format the basic tenets of the discipline and describe the major treatments used by orthopedic physicians.


According to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), osteopathic medicine is a complete system of healthcare with a philosophy that combines the needs of the patient with the current practice of medicine. Doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) practice a whole-person approach, which means they consider both the physical and mental needs of their patients.

Pain Management Specialist:

A Pain Management Specialist is a physician who has four extra years learning anesthesiology and pain medicine to help patients with pain management. A Pain Management Specialist can prescribe medication and treatments, and a Pain Management Specialist can also create a therapy plan to help manage your pain. If you are experiencing severe pain from a surgery, illness, or injury you could be referred to a Pain Management Specialist. A Pain Management Specialist can also treat cancer pain from radiation or chemotherapy. A Pain Management Specialist treats patients with arthritis, nerve pain, and migraines.


A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, addictive, and emotional disorders, such as the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Psychosis
  • Substance abuse
  • Sexual dysfunction

Psychiatrists are trained in the medical, psychological, and social components of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They order diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, practice psychotherapy, and help patients and their families cope with stress and crises. Psychiatrists often consult with primary care physicians and psychotherapists, such as psychologists and social workers.


Physiatrists, or rehabilitation physicians, are medical doctors who are:

  • Experts at diagnosing and treating pain
  • Restore maximum function lost through injury, illness or disabling conditions
  • Treat the whole person, not just the problem area
  • Lead a team of medical professionals
  • Provide non-surgical treatments
  • Explain your medical problems and treatment plan
  • Work not only on treatment but also prevention

Rehabilitation physicians are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move. Rehabilitation physicians have completed training in the medical specialty physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R).

They treat a wide range of problems from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries. Their goal is to decrease pain and enhance performance without surgery. Rehabilitation physicians take the time needed to accurately pinpoint the source of an ailment. They then design a treatment plan that can be carried out by the patients themselves or with the help of the rehabilitation physician's medical team.

This medical team might include other physicians and health professionals, such as neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists. By providing an appropriate treatment plan, rehabilitation physicians help patients stay as active as possible at any age. Their broad medical expertise allows them to treat disabling conditions throughout a person's lifetime.

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation:

Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), also called physiatry, is the branch of medicine emphasizing the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders - particularly related to the nerves, muscles, and bones – that may produce temporary or permanent impairment. PM&R is one of 24 medical specialties certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties. PM&R provides integrated care in the treatment of all conditions related to the brain, muscles, and bones, from traumatic brain injury to lower back pain.

Physical Therapist:

Physical therapists provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. They restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health. Their patients include accident victims and individuals with disabling conditions such as low-back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy.

Therapists examine patients' medical histories and then test and measure the patients' strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. Next, physical therapists develop plans describing a treatment strategy and its anticipated outcome.

Treatment often includes exercise, especially for patients who have been immobilized or who lack flexibility, strength, or endurance. Physical therapists encourage patients to use their muscles to increase their flexibility and range of motion. More advanced exercises focus on improving strength, balance, coordination, and endurance. The goal is to improve how an individual functions at work and at home.

Physical therapists also use electrical stimulation, hot packs or cold compresses, and ultrasound to relieve pain and reduce swelling. They may use traction or deep-tissue massage to relieve pain and improve circulation and flexibility. Therapists also teach patients to use assistive and adaptive devices, such as crutches, prostheses, and wheelchairs. They also may show patients how to do exercises at home to expedite their recovery.


Physiotherapy is a health care profession concerned with human function and movement and maximizing potential:

  • it uses physical approaches to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social well-being, taking account of variations in health status

  • it is science-based, committed to extending, applying, evaluating and reviewing the evidence that underpins and informs its practice and delivery

  • the exercise of clinical judgment and informed interpretation is at its core

Physiotherapists work in a wide variety of health settings such as intensive care, mental illness, stroke recovery, occupational health, and care of the elderly.


A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who is qualified by additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Many rheumatologists conduct research to determine the cause and better treatments for these disabling and sometimes fatal diseases.

Rheumatologists treat arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders and osteoporosis. There are more than 100 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, back pain, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Some of these are very serious diseases that can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

Doctor Tips

All practitioners have their own style, their own set of expertise, and their own limitations. The more informed you are, the better choice you're likely to make in choosing a health care provider. If you're unhappy with your health care provider you need to tell them. Then make the changes necessary to ensure that you'll be satisfied.

We've listed some questions below that you may want to ask your health care provider before starting treatment with them:

  • How often do you treat patients with my type of illness?
  • What are your special qualifications to treat my illness?
  • Have you participated in any special training for pain management techniques?
  • What is your philosophy of managing my pain condition in terms of medications and alternative therapies?
  • What types of medications do you usually prescribe?
  • What types of non-medication therapies do you use?
  • Where do you refer patients who need additional treatment?
  • Is your clinic listed with any professional societies?
  • Are you, or is someone in the clinic, available 24 hours a day if I need help?
  • What should I expect from treatment with you and/or your team?
  • What do you expect from me?
  • Will your services be covered by my insurance?
  • Do you accept what Medicare pays?
  • How much do they cost?
  • How can I make arrangements with you to pay for these services?


While many doctors will accept what medicare pays for their services, there are many who don't. Be sure to know this in advance, as you may need to come up with more money for your visit.


Be prepared for your visit with a list of your symptoms and medications. Many patients find that keeping a symptom diary helps them talk to their doctors better. Ask questions and answer questions fully. Write things down. You might even want to ask permission to audiotape the visit.


Educate yourself thoroughly about CMP and be on the lookout for health care providers who have done the same. If you already have a good relationship with a health care provider, you should urge them to develop an understanding of CMP. Educate your doctor by providing them with literature about these illnesses.


Support groups may be able to guide you when looking for a health care provider in your area. You can see a list of your local CMP support groups by CLICKING HERE. Other people with CMP, friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, nurses, support group members - everyone is a resource.

Keep in mind that many people choose health care providers according to "personality" and opinions differ among individuals. Most people are not qualified to characterize a doctor as competent or incompetent. However, compassion and understanding, good "bedside manner" and an open mind are qualities that count in a health care provider, especially when treating chronic illnesses like CMP.


Doctors are people too. They're all fallible, and no one doctor can possibly keep up with all the new medical information coming out. Doctors, like the rest of us, have personal opinions and attitudes. They can't be totally unbiased or free of pre-judgments. If your doctor can't deal with your real medical problems, seek help elsewhere!

Check On Your Doctor

There are many ways to check up on physicians in the United States. You can go to your local library, check with a physician referral service or surf the Internet. Below are additional options.

Your Health Insurance Plan

Call your health insurer first to find out which health care providers are in your plan. Most Americans now have a limited number of providers they can see. If there aren't any suitable doctors in your plan, find out the plan's policy if you go "out of network."

American Medical Association (AMA)

Through the AMA you can find out about a doctor's educational background and areas of medical specialty and whether or not the doctor is a member of the AMA. You can also check the American Medical Association Medical Directory at your local public library or bookstore.

    Department of Physician Data Services
    515 N. State Street
    Chicago, IL 60616

American Board of Medical Specialties

This organization will tell you whether a doctor is board certified or board eligible in a particular area. "Board certified" means the doctor has completed two additional years of training and passed a national examination. "Board eligible" means that the training, but not the test, has been completed.

    47 Perimeter Center East, Suite 350
    Atlanta, GA 30346

Health Grades

This web site allows you to access critical background and performance information on doctors.

Doctor Reviews

Rate a doctor, see doctor reviews. It's free, simple and private.

Additional Search Resources

The following is a brief list of places to search for doctors who treat CMP.

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Last Modified: 12/31/69 07:00 ET