Pain Medicine

Looking for a pain medicine physician in San Diego?

Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups is your source for a list of San Diego’s most knowledgeable pain management specialists. The medical sub-specialty of pain medicine, also known as algiatry, deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and management of pain. Physicians specializing in pain medicine, or algiatrists, help treat chronic pain from persistent illness or cancer, acute pain arising from a specific trauma to the body, as well as pain sensations that linger behind after the originating problem has been treated or disappears. Pain medicine specialists may be anesthesiologists, neurologists, or physical medicine & rehabilitation doctors. Pain management specialists provide care for patients in both hospital and ambulatory settings.

Pain is associated with a massive range of injury and disease, and in some cases, may be the condition itself. Examples of the latter would include headaches or neuropathic pains. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, millions suffer from acute or chronic pain every year. Untreated pain can result in unnecessary or longer hospital stays, higher re-hospitalization rates, more outpatient visits, and a huge burden on everyday life.

Because pain is so complex, there are many treatment options that may be considered. Most treatment options fall under three main categories – medication (nonprescription and prescription drugs, injections, implants), therapy (bioelectric therapy, physical therapy, exercise, psychological), and mind-body techniques (relaxation, meditation, guided imagery, hypnosis). Pain medicine physicians often coordinate care with other physician specialists to provide the best possible treatment.

Treating Chronic Pain image

Treating Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can be completely debilitating for patients, and often garners little sympathy from others. A Pain Medicine specialist can help treat chronic pain patients, and sometimes more importantly, can help validate the patient’s complaints.

  • Explain chronic pain to loved ones
  • Support groups help you talk about your pain
  • Discuss your pain with your other physicians
I feel pain – how do I know if I should seek treatment? image

I feel pain – how do I know if I should seek treatment?

Throughout your lifetime, you will experience pain. The question is, how do you know if the pain is a signal of a medical issue that requires immediate treatment, a medical issue that needs treatment but is not an emergency, or simply an ache that can be expected to resolve on its own with a little rest?

  • Acute Pain – Seek immediate treatment
  • Use a Pain Assessment Scale
  • Tummy ache or appendicitis – learn to distinguish the difference
The side effects of pain treatment and medications image

The side effects of pain treatment and medications

For people with chronic pain, regular medication may provide relief from their symptoms. At the same time, some of the medications prescribed to treat chronic pain have side effects that can, without proper monitoring on the part of a Pain Medicine specialist, become almost as bad as the pain itself.

  • Addiction to pain medication
  • Side effects of pain medicine
  • Decreasing effectiveness of pain medication over time
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Doctors who can help


Rosa M. Navarro, MD

Pain Medicine


Alicja S. Steiner, MD

Pain Medicine


Douglas A. Dobecki, MD

Pain Medicine


Michael J. Sebahar, MD

Pain Medicine


Michael H. Verdolin, MD

Pain Medicine


Gregory J. Macchio, MD

Pain Medicine


Joshua S. Pal, MD

Pain Medicine