Expectations for Your Pain Management Specialist

Specialists in pain management have considerable expertise in assessing, identifying, and treating painful conditions. Find one with a good reputation for using step-by-step diagnostic testing to locate the source of pain and offer comprehensive care, including physical therapy and psychological support.

A thorough physical examination and analysis of your medical history, including any prior imaging or tests, will be performed at your initial session. You could be asked to keep a pain journal by the doctor.

During Your First Visit

Your first visit to a pain clinic Jacksonville FL, will allow your pain management specialist to analyze all the new information and determine an initial assessment. If you were referred to your new doctor by a primary care physician, bring the referral and any previous diagnostic studies (X-rays, CT scans, MRIs). During this appointment, the doctor will ask questions about your symptoms. They will also ask how your pain has affected all areas of your life, including sleep, work, and emotions.

The pain doctor will also want to know if you have tried other treatment methods, such as physical therapy or medication. They will want to start with non-invasive treatments and only prescribe pain medicine, such as opioids, when other medications are no longer effective. They recommend physical therapy, injections, and implanted devices, depending on your situation. A drug test may also be required before your pain doctor will write you a prescription.

Diagnostic Tests

To determine the source of your pain, your pain management specialist will run a series of diagnostic tests. They may perform a CT scan or an MRI to get a look at your bones and other organs. They will also review any X-rays, ultrasound and other medical records you might have.

They will ask you many questions about your pain, including where and when it occurs, what makes it better or worse and what treatments you’ve tried. They will also ask you to start keeping a pain journal. The physician will then use the information they have gathered to develop a treatment plan for you. It will include medication and possibly injections.

Injections block pain messages or deliver painkillers directly to the source of your pain. They can consist of nerve blocks, spinal injections, and non-invasive procedures like TENS and epidural injections. In addition, they will likely run a drug test to ensure you’re not using drugs to mask or enhance your symptoms.

Treatment Plan

After reviewing your documentation, the pain physician will do a physical examination, including listening to bowel sounds and checking blood pressure. X-rays or other imaging may also be ordered. They will ask you questions about your pain’s origins, location, what makes it better or worse, how long it has been occurring, whether it goes away after some activities and if certain movements trigger it.

After a thorough evaluation, your doctor will devise a treatment plan to address your pain. Often, nonsurgical treatment options are first tried. They include over-the-counter pain medications such as NSAIDs and a variety of other therapies.

If a patient does not respond to these options, prescription opioids are sometimes prescribed. Many pain management doctors work closely with a patient’s primary care physician and frequently participate in multispecialty case conferences that help coordinate patients’ treatment plans.

Follow-Up Visits

Once you’ve received a diagnosis and established treatment goals, follow-up visits will help your pain specialist determine if the therapy is working. These visits usually include reviewing your medical history, a detailed description of your pain, any recent diagnostic imaging (like X-rays or MRI) and an exam.

During these appointments, it’s important to communicate clearly with your pain management doctor. Bring a copy of any previous diagnoses, test results, X-rays, and your current medications. It may also be beneficial to get a pain journal where you record things like the location, intensity and triggers of your pain. It is a good idea to write down any questions you have before your appointment, as it can be easy to forget them once you’re on the schedule. 

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