How do I Become a Chronic Pain Doctor?

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  • Written By: N. Kalu
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2019
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To become a chronic pain doctor, you need to be committed to both studying topics related to medicine while in university and to attending medical school after your undergraduate education. Securing internships in chronic pain clinics or hospitals with a chronic pain division would be very helpful in helping you to become a chronic pain doctor. You must be able to tolerate observing patients in great pain who are experiencing extreme suffering.

Your journey as an aspiring chronic pain specialist will begin in college by studying science related fields, such as biology and chemistry. In biology, you will learn about anatomy and physiology as well as molecular structures and dynamics. Chemistry courses will cover topics relating to both organic and inorganic chemistry, such as atomic reactions and processes. Your university education will be full of challenging science courses that will prepare you for the rigorous program of study found in the vast majority of medical schools.


After receiving a bachelor's or equivalent degree, you will need to apply to various medical schools, particularly those which are known to have strong chronic pain training. Instead of obtaining the traditional Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree, you may want to consider studying for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. The DO program of study emphasizes holistic medicine, concentrating on how a condition has effected the entire body. It also focuses on manipulating a patient's bones and joints in order to relieve pain and assist the recovery process. Osteopathic practices fit in nicely with modern techniques for healing chronic pain.

Due to the fact that you would like to become a chronic pain doctor, you will want to focus your studies in later years on topics relating to treating chronic pain, such as the effects of specific pain medications as well as techniques in occupational and physical therapy. In medical school, you will get the chance to specialize in your field. Specialization occurs after you have mastered basic medical applications and subjects. After obtaining a medical degree, you will have an opportunity to select a residency which allows you to treat chronic pain patients.

Observing patients in extreme pain is not often easy. As someone who is striving to become a chronic pain doctor, it is necessary for you to be able to separate your emotions from the reality of healing the patient in pain. On the job training, such as rotations or residencies, usually help to acclimate new physicians to the challenging environment of sick and terminally ill patients.


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