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The American Academy of Pain Medicine

AAPM: The Physician’s Voice in Pain Medicine


The American Academy of Pain Medicine is the premiere medical association for pain physicians and their treatment teams with over 2,600 members. Now in its 27th year of service, the Academy’s mission is to optimize the health of patients in pain and eliminate it as a major public health problem by advancing the practice and the specialty of pain medicine through education, training, advocacy and research

Founded in 1983 as the American Academy of Algology, the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) has evolved as the primary organization for physicians practicing the specialty of Pain Medicine in the United States.

As the practice of Pain Medicine has grown, a defined body of knowledge and scope of practice have emerged, and today, Pain Medicine is acknowledged as a discrete discipline by the American Medical Association (AMA). AAPM is the first pain organization with representation in the AMA House of Delegates.

As a member of AAPM, you are part of a professional community of physicians with a sustained interest in pain disorders and their management. Members represent a variety of origins, including anesthesiology, internal medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, physiatry, and psychiatry.

As a major force in advancing the practice of Pain Medicine in this country, AAPM works hard to provide you with the most up-to-date information available on the practice of Pain Medicine, to be an advocate for you, and to bring visibility and credibility to the specialty of Pain Medicine.

Core Ideology - Mission

Core Purpose

To optimize the health of patients in pain and eliminate the major public health problem of pain by advancing the practice and the specialty of pain medicine.

We are committed to:

  • the highest standard of patient care

  • scholarship, science, and research

  • upholding ethical standards and professional integrity

  • advancing public health

Vision Statement

The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) is the recognized authority on the evaluation and care of patients with pain as a symptom of disease (eudynia) and primary pain diseases (maldynia). AAPM is an influential participant in policy making for Pain Medicine services and is responsive to the needs of its members.

Definition of Pain Medicine

The specialty of Pain Medicine is concerned with the study of pain, prevention of pain, and the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of persons in pain. Some conditions may have pain and associated symptoms arising from a discrete cause, such as postoperative pain or pain associated with a malignancy, or may be conditions in which pain constitutes the primary problem, such as neuropathic pains or headaches.

The evaluation of painful syndromes includes interpretation of historical data; review of previous laboratory, imaging, and electrodiagnostic studies; assessment of behavioral, social, occupational and avocational issues; and interview and examination of the patient by the pain specialist. It may require specialized diagnostic procedures, including central and peripheral neural blockade or monitored drug infusions. The special needs of the pediatric and geriatric populations, and patients' cultural contexts, are considered when formulating a comprehensive treatment plan.

The pain physician serves as a consultant to other physicians but is often the principal treating physician and may provide care at various levels, such as direct treatment, prescribing medication, prescribing rehabilitation services, performing pain relieving procedures, counseling patients and families, directing a multidisciplinary team, coordinating care with other health care providers and providing consultative services to public and private agencies pursuant to optimal health care delivery to the patient suffering from pain. The pain physician may work in a variety of settings and is competent to treat the entire range of pain encountered in the delivery of quality health care.

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