Insight Pain Management – If you are experiencing chronic pain that has lasted for more than three months and it is not going away or is even getting worse, it’s probably time to see a pain management specialist. Pain management doctors are highly trained in helping patients identify the underlying causes of their symptoms and will develop specialized treatment plans to meet your specific needs. Pain management doctors also work closely with your primary care physician, as well as other specialists like physical therapists, to ensure you are getting the best care possible to ease the severity of your pain. When seeing a pain management specialist for the first time, you will likely have many questions and it’s always a good idea to come prepared to get the most out of your visit. Here are ten common questions to consider asking your pain management specialist.
How can a pain management specialist help me?
One of the first things you will want to know when visiting a pain management specialist is if the doctor can help you. A pain management specialist will work with you and your primary care physician to first determine the source of your pain and any other factors that could be contributing to your symptoms. In order to do this, a thorough evaluation and testing will be required to determine the right solution for your individual needs.
Will I Be Working With Other Doctors?
In addition to your primary care and pain management doctors, you may also work with other healthcare specialists depending on your condition and severity of symptoms. It is not uncommon for patients to work with physical therapists, occupational therapists, mental health specialists, massage therapists, and even nutritionists.
What treatment options are available other than medication or surgery?
A common misconception is that medication and surgery are the only ways to treat chronic pain. However, pain management doctors specialize in conservative treatments to help manage and treat symptoms. Surgery is always a last resort and it may be possible to explore treatment options with low doses of medication or no medications at all. Along with lifestyle changes, many patients find success with natural treatments like physical and occupational therapy, chiropractic care, massage, and acupuncture.
What is my diagnosis?
Before you begin any treatment plan, it is important to fully understand your condition, including the formal diagnosis and what is causing your pain. Do not hesitate to also ask questions about how the diagnosis was reached, the prognosis, and if you should seek a second opinion.
What can I do to avoid triggering my pain?
A pain management specialist can also give you tips on how to avoid triggering pain during treatment. This can include certain lifestyle changes and exercises, ice/heat therapy, and dietary adjustments.
What can I expect to see results?
As you embark on a new treatment plan, you will want to know what to expect, including when you will start seeing results. Although it may not be possible to give you a definitive answer, your pain management physician can provide insight into day-to-day expectations, possible setbacks you could experience, and longterm goals. They can also explain what will happen during follow-up appointments, including visits to other specialists.
How do you determine what is causing my pain?
In order to accurately diagnose the underlying cause(s) of your pain and begin treatment, your pain management physician will perform a thorough physical exam and medical history assessment. Further testing, such as blood work and imaging, may also be required. Your pain management physician will thoroughly explain this process, addressing any questions or concerns you have along the way.
Will this treatment cure my condition or only mask the symptoms?
Pain management physicians are dedicated to helping patients achieve long-term symptom relief by identifying and addressing underlying problems. Through a specialized treatment plan, patients can expect to see a meaningful reduction in pain which means a reduction in medications and the potential need for surgery.
Is it possible to become addicted to pain medications during treatment?
Dependence on pain medications is always a concern for patients managing chronic pain.
It is not uncommon for people with chronic pain to develop dependence on pain medications prior to visiting a pain management physician or during treatment. However, pain management physicians specialize in managing medications, preventing dependence, and helping patients return to a normal, pain-free life without reliance on medications.
Will exercise make my pain worse?
The belief that any form of exercise or physical activity will worsen chronic pain is a common misconception. In fact, inactivity will often make symptoms worse. If you have any concerns about engaging in physical activity during treatment, speak to your pain management doctor. They can provide recommendations for your specific condition, including referrals to specialists such as physical therapists.
If you are visiting a pain management specialist for the first time, these questions are a great starting point for you and your doctor in understanding your pain. It is also important to come prepared with as much information as possible regarding your symptoms and experience. This information will be vital in helping your doctor better understand your pain. For more information about our pain management services at Insight and to schedule an appointment, contact us today.
Q: What is the difference between a pain management doctor and a primary care physician?
A: A primary care physician is your first healthcare point of contact and helps you manage all aspects of your health. A pain management doctor has additional training and specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of chronic pain.
Q: How long should I wait to visit a pain management specialist?
A: If you are experiencing chronic pain that has persisted for more than a few months, it may be time to visit a pain management specialist. Waiting too long can lead to further progression of your condition and negatively impact your quality of life.
Q: Can a pain management specialist help me avoid surgery?
A: Yes. Pain management specialists are dedicated to helping patients return to their everyday activities pain-free without surgery or reliance on medications.