Your first visit to a pain management specialist can be scary, especially when you’re already dealing with the stress and anxiety of chronic pain. Fortunately, a pain management practice like Coastal Pain Solutions is the right place and will provide you with the support you need. To make the experience less stressful, we have information on what to expect during your first visit.
Filling Out Paperwork
Keep in mind that the pain management doctors you’re going to see are doctors first and pain management specialists second. They will start by getting your medical background through the new patient paperwork you fill out. Prepare for sharing information regarding previous surgeries, allergies, family history and current medications. You will also fill out paperwork regarding the nature of your problem, including such details as when the pain first started and what the cause may be. It’s important to be thorough in your paperwork so that your pain management doctor will have a clear understanding of your health and how it correlates to your pain.
Once the necessary background information has been gathered, you will receive a thorough physical exam. Pain management specialists do not want to cause more harm, which is why they’re especially careful during the initial exam. The specialist will listen to the heart and lungs and assess your general physical condition. If you have records and imaging results from a previous doctor, be sure to have them faxed over ahead of time or bring them with you. The specialist can then review these records and get a better idea of your condition.
One-on-One Discussion with Doctor
The rest of the appointment will be spent discussing the pain you’re having, more specifically, when it’s worst, what brings it on and how it interferes with your day-to-day life. Since pain management doctors are highly specialized in treating chronic pain, you can rest assured that you will make headway in your first appointment. Yet like any medical condition, it may take time to find the right balance of medication and lifestyle changes to find what works for you.
The pain management doctor may prescribe you a medication in the first visit, but don’t be surprised if you don’t walk away with a prescription in hand. Pain management doctors, in an effort to get their patients feeling good with as little intervention as possible, start at the bottom and work their way up. They don’t want to overmedicate patients or prescribe medications that could cause severe side effects. If the pain continues with the least invasive methods, you may be prescribed pain injections or nerve blocks. Pain injections are restricted to pain management clinics and used for chronic conditions where pain doesn’t respond to traditional medication.
Treatment Plan and Next Appointment
Your appointment will wrap up and include your written prescription – if there is one – and when your next appointment will be. Pain management doctors like to see their patients regularly in order to get their pain under control, so expect quite a few appointments in the beginning. You will be given a treatment plan that outlines your diagnoses and treatment, which can then be discussed with your primary care physician. Family involvement is also encouraged. In fact, you’re more than welcome to bring a family member with you during your first visit to ease the transition.
Image c/o: bodywonders.com