Living with Chronic Pain

What to Expect During the First Visit to a Pain Clinic

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A pain clinic is a health care resource that concentrates on the diagnosis, management and treatment of chronic pain. Within many clinics, specialists that focus on different pain types and conditions are available.

A pain management specialist is a doctor with additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of pain. Pain management specialists have a detailed knowledge of pain physiology and a deep understanding of the specific tests used to diagnose pain-related conditions. Pain management specialists prescribe medications, perform procedures (such as spinal injections and nerve blocks) and recommend therapies to treat pain.

The first visit to a pain management clinic usually involves an appointment with a general practitioner, internist, nurse practitioner or medical assistant. The visit typically involves a detailed evaluation of the individual’s pain history, a physical exam, pain assessment, and diagnostic tests. The health care provider may ask for more detailed information regarding pain symptoms, treatment history, and the pain’s impact on daily life. Depending on the origin and severity of chronic pain, an appointment for a consultation with a different pain specialist within the clinic may be suggested. Physicians generally available at a pain clinic include the following:

  • General Practitioners
  • Internists
  • Neurologists
  • Rheumatologists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Orthopedists
  • Physiatrists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Other professionals at a pain clinic may include physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and psychologists.

    No matter the cause of chronic pain or how long it has been present, a person should expect to have a better understanding of their pain and treatment options after the first visit to a pain clinic.

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