Education and Training Required For A Pain Doctor

Pain physicians are a special breed of doctor. That probably sounds silly, but becoming a pain management specialist requires more than just a strong educational background—it also requires behavioral traits like empathy and compassion. Of course, we don’t mean these traits are literally required, but they undoubtedly help when you consider the nature of this profession. Working with individuals in pain can be an emotionally trying experience, and some people may be more cut out for this career than others.

Nevertheless, there are certain education and training requirements when becoming a credentialed pain management physician. The team at Southwest Spine and Pain Center is sharing what it takes to become a pain doctor and how they became pain specialists themselves. 

Like any other physician, pain doctors have to start their journey by completing four years of premedical schooling at a college or university. Graduating with a science-based degree (i.e. biology, chemistry, physics, etc.) is typically recommended for those wanting to pursue medical school. Once the undergraduate degree has been obtained, four years at medical school will result in either an MD (doctor of medicine) or an OD (doctor of osteopathy) for aspiring physicians.

After medical school, physicians may be required to apply for and received a license to practice medicine in their state. Additionally, a residency is required for those wanting to practice a medical specialty like family practice, internal medicine or general surgery (for example). Fellowships are optional for some doctors, but may be required for those wanting to become physicians in highly specialized fields. Board certification is another relatively optional endeavor—it all depends on the individuals’ career goals!

The pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center bring world-class care to patients from training at Harvard and Mayo Clinic. Dr. John Obray and Dr. Rick Obray both completed their residency and fellowship training at Mayo Clinics; Dr. Derek Frieden completed his residency at Saint Louis University Hospital and fellowship at Harvard University; Dr. Brian Richardson completed his residency and fellowship training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.; and Dr. Alan Hillstead completed his residency and fellowship training at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.

To learn more about each providers’ education and training, visit the providers page on our website.

If chronic pain is impacting your life, don't wait to schedule an appointment at Southwest Spine and Pain Center. With four locations in Utah and growing, the pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are dedicated to helping those who suffer from chronic pain live the life they want to! To schedule an appointment, visit our locations tab!

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

©Southwest Spine and Pain Center, 2015

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