Suffering with chronic or ongoing pain can have a real impact on your day-to-day life, leading you to seek professional help. The activities you once enjoyed can become nearly impossible to do, and you may find yourself spending too much time in bed or missing important family events. Instead of continuing to suffer with debilitating pain, many patients opt to seek the advice of a pain management doctor.
If you’re ready to take this step, you might be wondering what to expect, how to choose a qualified pain management doctor to work with and what will happen at your first visit to a pain management clinic. Read on to learn more about what it is like to visit a pain management doctor.
Who Should Visit a Pain Management Doctor?
Visiting a pain management doctor can help anyone who suffers from pain that impacts their life, including conditions like:
With a broad background in medical education, pain management doctors are well qualified to understand the symptoms you are suffering from and develop a plan for treatment to give you relief.
Choosing a Pain Management Doctor
When looking for a pain management doctor, it’s important to understand the approach they will take to treating your pain and the qualifications they hold. While some patients might require surgery to correct the issues causing pain, choosing a pain management clinic that is committed to using non invasive procedures whenever possible ensures that you wont have to undergo a surgical procedure unless totally necessary.
Pain management doctors can come from a wide range of backgrounds, drawing on diverse fields of study within medicine to better understand the causes of and best treatments for pain. After attending medical school, pain management doctors go on to study a specialized field of medicine, such as neurology. Finally, a pain management specialist can get board certified in pain management to complete their education.
What is a Pain Management Clinic Like?
Pain management clinics are considered outpatient facilities and generally include exam rooms, the physicians offices, and spaces for diagnostic testing to be conducted. A well-staffed pain management clinic has not only pain management doctors working there, but other medical professionals who can help develop a full treatment plan to address your pain. This might include doctors who specialize in preventative medicine, trained surgeons, nurse practitioners, physical therapists and other multidisciplinary pain specialists.
What Happens at a First Visit to a Pain Management Clinic?
At your first visit to a pain management clinic, the doctor and other staff will try to get a better understanding of what is causing your pain, what options you’ve already tried to treat it, and how to move forward. In addition to reviewing your medical records and previous test results, the staff may ask you questions in order to build a complete picture of your pain and accurately diagnose the source.
While it is normal to be nervous at your first visit to a new doctor, try to remember that the pain management doctor needs to hear all about your symptoms and potential causes of your pain in order to help you find the right solution.
If you have kept a journal or record of your symptoms, you can present these to the doctor at your first visit. This will help the doctor better understand how severe the pain is and where to begin treating it. Based on the information gathered at this visit, the doctor may request some diagnostic testing be done.
This might include an MRI, allergy testing, x-rays, ultrasounds, or other kinds of procedures designed to help the doctor eliminate possible causes of the pain and narrow in on a diagnosis. Many pain management centers have the equipment to do these procedures on hand in order to make things easier for the patient. In some cases, the doctor may refer patients to a local hospital or lab to get these tests done.
After reviewing the results of these tests, the doctor may prescribe oral medication or injections to treat the symptoms of the pain. With continued monitoring over time, the pain management clinic can see how effective this treatment is and whether it is necessary to move forward with another solution. You may be directed towards additional resources, like physical or occupational therapy, that can hep lessen the pain through lifestyle changes.