Specialist practitioners in musculoskeletal pain medicine are trained and assessed in the basic sciences of pain and musculoskeletal disorders, and in the investigation and management of these disorders. Moreover, they are particularly trained and assessed in the precepts of critical reasoning and biostatistics so that they can apply them to the evaluation of existing and emerging practices, and be able to formulate, explain, and defend, plans of management that are based on the best available evidence.
Notwithstanding this academic base, the defining hallmark of specialists in musculoskeletal pain medicine are aptitude and commitment to a particular mode of practice. Musculoskeletal pain problems do not lend themselves to a classical Virchowian approach of recognizing pathology and summarily treating that pathology. The contemporary evidence indicates that successful practitioners need to devote time to patients both to understand and to explain the nature of their problem; and to provide ongoing support and encouragement, while iterating systematically through evidence-based algorithms of management.
In addition, specialists in musculoskeletal pain medicine are trained and experienced in activating patients, and having them take responsibility for their own rehabilitation. They are trained in particular interventions, such as manual therapy and invasive tests and treatments.
Beyond providing care for their patients, Fellows in Musculoskeletal Medicine are required to contribute actively to the specialty by providing teaching and training to General Practitioners and to trainee Fellows; by conducting quality assurance audits of their own practices; by contributing to guidelines and position statements on best practice in the discipline; and as much as possible, to contribute to research in the field.
Please see "Directory of Musculoskeletal Specialists" for contact information and to find a specialist near you.