How do I prepare for a pain management appointment?
Pain resulting from injury or surgery is completely normal, but if you’re experiencing ongoing pain for months or years it’s time to seek help from a chronic pain management specialist.
Before your Chronic Pain Management Appointment
Both doctors recommend you bring the following with you to your appointment:
- All your medications – either bring the bottles or a list with current doses
- Names and contact information for all your other physicians
- The name and number of your pharmacy
- Your medical and surgical records and any imaging results
During your Appointment
When you’re with your pain management specialist, share as much information as possible – this will help your specialist make an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. And be sure to take notes – a lot of information will be given during a short amount of time.
It’s even a good idea to make a list of questions in advance so you don’t forget anything. Questions may include:
- Are there any medications I should take or avoid?
- How can I keep myself free from further pain-related issues?
- How will my treatment plan be developed?
- What are reasonable goals for treatment?
How Can I Prepare for My Visit?
The best way to prepare for your visit at The Pain Management Center is to become familiar with our treatments and your treatment goals. By exploring our pain treatment and therapies, you can develop an understanding of the types of services we offer. This can be helpful as you discuss possible treatment plans with our doctors. Reviewing these treatments and our page on pain conditions can also give you an idea of the kind of treatments you can expect depending on your condition.
What Should I Bring to My Visit?
On the day of your visit, you’ll want to make sure you dress in comfortable clothing. This will make it easier for us to perform any treatments, while also making your experience more enjoyable. Additionally, you may want to bring any paperwork or other information that relates to your condition or injury. This can include anything that relates to care under workers compensation, if applicable. We also ask that you bring in your insurance information.
Your pain management team will work with you to develop the best treatment plan for your pain, disease or condition. Options may include one or a combination of the following:
- Physical therapy – Typically the first approach to pain management, physical therapy can often resolve pain without further treatment.
- Medical therapy – If there is no benefit provided from physical therapy, medications may be prescribed. It’s important to note that research shows significant risks and side effects associated with long-term use of opioid pain medications for pain not related to cancer. Because of this, if your pain is not related to cancer, your pain management specialist will work with you to identify alternative options to opioid pain medications.
- Interventional procedures – Sometimes combined with medical therapy, interventional procedures can include epidurals, steroid injections, nerve blocks and spinal cord stimulators.
- Complementary therapies – These are therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback and herbal medicine. These may not be provided at the hospital, but your pain specialist can provide recommendations on where to go.
Preparing For Your Interventional Pain Management Appointment
Chronic Pain is a difficult burden for patients to bear and especially when dealing with doctor appointments. Because many chronic pain patients have seen multiple doctors, taken many different prescriptions and even have had multiple surgeries, the idea of seeing yet another doctor may be almost unbearable. Even more so when you are required to produce copies of medical records before you can been seen. Why does the process have to be so involved and difficult? As a Specialist who treats chronic pain, I understand how patients can get frustrated. Why can’t you just get pain relief without all of the tedious requirements? This article is written to help you understand the process, why it exists, what to expect and how to prepare for your first office visit with me.
The Pain Management Team has a strict policy for treating chronic pain patients. This policy includes some of the following:
- Your medical records are very important; but the experience that you share with us is equally important. While the thought of re-telling your pain story may make you want to stay in bed with the covers pulled over your head, please know that it is a vital tool I will use to find the best treatment for you and your pain. Please come to your appointment with an open mind and trust that I will help you in any way I can to reduce your pain.
- Your willingness and openness are also important in the area of treatments I may recommend. In addition to medication, I often prescribe Physical Therapy, in-office procedures or injections, exercise, aqua-therapy, yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback and many other modalities and therapies. Just because Physical Therapy didn’t help you in the past doesn’t mean it won’t help you in future. I often suggest many different treatments, in concert, to find the best pain relief for my patients, but their efficacy may largely depend on you and your willingness to try.
Questions to Ask at Your Appointment
The easiest way to have a painless discussion about pain with your APM provider starts by asking the right informational questions. Here’s a suggested checklist you may adapt to your situation:
- What causes my pain?
- Can my pain be cured or managed?
- Is it normal to suffer this type of pain with this condition?
- Are there common triggers for this type of pain? Should I avoid noise, heat, certain foods or other situations?
- Why does my pain seem worse at certain times of the day or during certain weather conditions?
- How can a pain specialist help me and my condition?
- What kinds of pain treatments are available and appropriate for me? What are the risks and side effects of each?
- What about alternative treatments? Are there homeopathic or complementary treatments?
- Will diet or exercise help alleviate my pain? Should I see a nutritionist or work with a physical or occupational therapist?
- What resources are available to help me learn more about my type of pain and how to manage it?