Low rating for doctors – pain management doctors low online reviews


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Low rating for doctors in pain management

Pain management doctors, myself included,  are healthcare professionals who specialize in treating patients who suffer from chronic pain. They are trained to manage and treat pain using a variety of methods, including medication, physical therapy, and other interventions. However, despite their expertise, pain management doctors often receive low ratings on online reviews, leaving many patients wondering why. 

Low rating for doctors – not just doctors but all businesses

Negative reviews: It has been shown that there are far more negative reviews posted than positive ones across all businesses, not only medicine(link).  The reason for this is that many happy customers/patients never bother to write a review whereas angry customers/patients are far more likely to write a review as they somehow feel they have been in someway wronged or disrespected by the business.  

Low rating for doctors – pain management doctors more than others – because of opioids?

When searching for a pain management doctor, online reviews can be a valuable tool. Unfortunately, many patients are discouraged by the negative reviews they read about pain management doctors. Unlike any other specialty in medicine, most of these negative reviews seem to revolve around the topic of whether they will receive opiate medications or why the doctor won’t prescribe the same medication that their previous doctor did.

It’s important to understand that pain management doctors are held to a high standard when it comes to prescribing opioids. Due to the opioid epidemic in the United States, doctors are being more cautious than ever before when it comes to prescribing these medications. Many pain management doctors are also under pressure from insurance companies and government regulators to limit the number of opioids they prescribe.

Low rating for doctors – Not all doctors practice the same

Doctors do not all share the same view on the use of opiates.  Like religion, the doctors’ belief system may play a role in determining who they will write opiates for and who they wont.  Some doctors believe that only terminally ill patients should receive opiates.  Some believe that opiates should only be used for an acute episode of pain but never for chronic use.  Some doctors have a “ceiling dose”, a dose they will not prescribe beyond as they feel any higher dose is unsafe despite the disease process.  Just because the patient was being seen by a doctor who was much more liberal in their dispensing of opiates does not mean your new doctor will feel the same way.  Nor should you expect them to.  Like religion, you are unlikely to persuade a doctor who’s approach to medicine is one way to switch to another.  You cannot force or demand a doctor to do something they do not feel is the best interest of the patient.  

This can lead to frustration for patients who have been using opioids to manage their pain for a long time. They may feel that their new pain management doctor is not taking their pain seriously or is unwilling to provide the medications that they need. However, it’s important to remember that pain management doctors have their patients’ best interests in mind.

Common causes of patients being denied opiates in our clinic:

  • Lack of objective studies verifying disease is present or studies show mild disease process
  • Patient has not yet failed other modalities of treatment
  • Recent history of illicit drug use or alcohol abuse
  • Opiate dose patient is asking for is beyond the level that our practitioner is comfortable prescribing
  • Lack of trust between the patient and the doctor.  Patients caught being deceptive on their intake forms regarding their health history.

In many cases, pain management doctors will recommend alternative treatments that may be just as effective as opioids, but with fewer side effects and less risk of addiction. These may include physical therapy, acupuncture, or non-opioid medications. It’s important for patients to keep an open mind and be willing to try new treatments if their pain management doctor recommends them.

In some cases, negative reviews may be the result of miscommunication between the patient and the pain management doctor. Patients may not understand why their doctor is making certain recommendations or may feel that their concerns are not being heard. It’s important for patients to speak up and ask questions if they are unsure about their treatment plan or have concerns about their care.

A typical scenario in our clinic would be a patient who has been treated by a different pain management doctor who was giving them opiate medications for an extended period of time.  However because of an insurance plan change or perhaps because the previous provider was expelled from their insurance plan, they were forced to switch to our clinic.  After evaluation of the patient’s condition, we often find that we do not agree with the medication regimen that was being given by the previous provider.  When we suggest changes or decreases in their medication regimen, the patient often becomes upset and sometimes even hostile.  Usually this is where the energy to write a negative review comes from.  Another common scenario is that we would often find illicit drugs in the patient’s urine drug screens and therefore need to discontinue opiate therapies.    

At the end of the day, pain management doctors are dedicated to helping their patients manage their pain and improve their quality of life. While negative reviews can be discouraging, it’s important to remember that every patient’s situation is unique, and pain management doctors are doing their best to provide the best care possible. 

Low rating for doctors – Doctors can rarely respond to negative reviews

As doctors, we are also equally as frustrated by the fact that we cannot respond to most negative reviews without revealing personal health information about the patient which is fiercely protected by the Federal government.  It seems extremely unfair that patients can say whatever they like regarding their doctor but their doctor has his/her hands tied to respond because of privacy protection laws for the patient. 

In conclusion, pain management doctors often receive low ratings on online reviews, but it’s important to remember that these negative reviews are not always a reflection of the quality of care that they provide. Many of the negative reviews revolve around the topic of opioids, but it’s important to remember that pain management doctors are being cautious when it comes to prescribing these medications. Patients should keep an open mind and be willing to try alternative treatments that their doctor recommends. Communication is key, and patients should speak up if they have concerns or questions about their treatment plan.  

Rainier Guiang, MD is a board certified specialist in interventional pain management and practices in southern California at University Pain Consultants.


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