Pain Medicine Salaries in USA

Pain, as the human physiologists would like point out, is of survival importance to humans - it helps protect the body parts from harmful stimuli by immediately bringing our attention to them and withdraw from them. Yet, there can be times when the body overdoes it and pain itself becomes a 'pain in the neck' the symptom becoming a disease. That's when the pain doctors are consulted and sought, who go much beyond your favorite over-the-counter analgesic.

One would not think a pain medicine specialist is a big thing until your eyes skim through the salaries below. This is how the average mid-career, pre-tax, base salaries look for Physicians who specialize in Pain Medicine.

Houston, TX: $335,000/-
Los Angeles, CA: $355,000/-
Miami, FL: $330,000/-
New York, NY: $360,000/-
Seattle, WA: $350,000/-

These are averages of all settings, some salary offers from well established private setups in good locations might offer more than a Million dollars a year too.

Why Pain Medicine Salaries might drop in the future ? Pain medicine started a sub-specialty of the anesthetists but pretty soon other specialties have started 'digging into the pain gold', so to speak. This is because, not all procedures that are identified and reimbursed by insurance companies as specialized pain treatments are strictly the domain of the anesthetists. Indeed, pain would have a rehabilitative aspect, a psychological / psychiatric aspect and of course, a neurological aspect. Hence, in the future, many opine that the Medicare might drop the amount of dollars it pays out for pain procedures, hence bringing the salaries down. Dr. Mark Lema does a good job explaining this, who also says: "Salaries for pain specialists are as high as $50,000 more than for a corresponding staff anesthesiologist position"

How to Become a Pain Medicine Specialist in the United States ?

Pain Medicine is a 1-year Fellowship that can be done after completing residencies in eligible specialties - It might amuse somewhat to know that currently, the specialties that qualify for the pain medicine fellowship include:

P - Psychiatry OR Physiatry (PM & R)
A - Anesthesiology
I - Interventional Neurology
N - Neurology

Most pain fellowship programs are multidisciplinary (i.e. deal with all types of pain treatments and procedures) or some may provide distinct tracks like the Interventional track and medical tracks at the Beth Israel Fellowship in Pain medicine. An example of a multidisciplinary pain medicine fellowship programs would be the Mayo Clinic Pain Medicine Fellowship.

Useful books:
1.Essentials of Pain Medicine: Expert Consult - Online and Print
2.McGraw-Hill Specialty Board Review Pain Medicine
3.Raj's Practical Management of Pain (PRACTICAL MANAGEMENT OF PAIN (RAJ))
4.Atlas of Image-Guided Intervention in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine


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