Seeking treatment for chronic pain can be an extremely nerve racking experience. It can be very difficult to articulate issues with pain if there isn’t an obvious cause such as an injury. This leads many individuals to put off seeking professional help until symptoms get even worse. Many individuals also avoid seeking treatment, because of fear that they will be classified as pill seeking individuals if it is difficult to prove they truly are in pain. Although it is fine to visit a primary care physician if you are experiencing pain there are certain times when you should see out the help of a pain management specialist. If you are experiencing pain for an extended period of time for more than 3 months you may be experiencing chronic pain. Chronic pain is different than acute pain resulting from a sickness or injury and requires specialized treatment programs. The best way to have a positive experience when visiting a pain management specialist for the firs time is to be prepared. Here are a few things to expect your first time visiting a pain management specialist:
1. Paperwork – Like any doctors office the first time you go you will be required to fill out a substantial amount of paperwork. When filling out the paperwork it is very important that you be extremely thorough and diligent. Your medical history, family history, past surgeries, and past medication use are all very important information that may be necessary to help your doctor make a diagnosis at a later date. Many times it is difficult to pinpoint the source of chronic pain and so it is very important your doctor has any information that may be helpful in making a diagnosis.
2. Physical Examination – Doctors will typically give you a physical examination during your first visit in order to make assessments about the nature of your pain as well as verify all information you have provided is correct. The good thing about a pain management specialist is that they will be extra careful to prevent inflicting any additional pain. This stage of the visit will help the doctor to begin pinpointing the source of your pain so that treatment can begin.
3. One-On-One Consultation – After the physical examination has concluded the doctor will conduct a one-on-one interview in which allows you to explain to the doctor the nature of your pain as well as go over ways that you’ve been treating pain in the past. This approach will helps to take the guesswork out of the medication process. Equipped with the right information your doctor will be able to correctly asses the appropriate medicine dosage if it is determined to be the best method of treatment.
4. Treatment and Follow-Up Appointments – After you and your doctor conclude the consultation your doctor will explain to you the steps in the treatment process. This may include prescribing a particular medication, making recommendations for physical therapy or surgery, or the doctor may refer you to another physician depending on the nature of your condition. After this is concluded the doctor will typically schedule a follow-up appointment with you in order to begin or continue treatment.