What is Board Certified?
To practice medicine, a physician must be a medical school graduate, fulfill applicable residency requirements, and meet approval by the state’s official medical board. However, not all physicians are board certified in the specialties they practice.
With board certification, in addition to the basic education, a doctor must meet additional training requirements. A board certified physician goes through an application process and must pass additional standardized examinations. In short, board certification is a rigorous process signifying a physician has a certain level of expertise.
Although board certification is not a requirement to practice medicine, board certification is an extra step physicians can take to assure patients they have met specialty training requirements in their field.
Board certification gives doctors access to resources to stay up-to-date within their specialties and maintain their competency in the field. Since medicine is an evolving field, the learning does not stop once a physician is board certified. ABPMR board certified physicians follow a rigorous schedule to maintain their certification, including continuing education.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)
Physicians specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation are also known as Physiatrists. They treat a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
Fellowship Trained Pain Specialist
The widely accepted standard for pain management education is a fellowship that consists of additional training beyond residency for at least one year.
After physicians are board certified in their primary specialty and have completed an accredited fellowship, they become eligible for sub-specialty board certification in pain management. There are only three board certifications in pain management recognized by the American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). A physician can be certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the American Board of Anesthesiology, or the American Board of Psychiatry and The American Board of Neurology.
A Fellowship Trained Pain Specialist, therefore, is a physician who trained at least one year beyond the four years of residency in the area of pain management.