When you are experiencing chronic pain, it can be hard to know the next step to take to find the relief you desperately need. Not only is this pain affecting every aspect of your life, but it can feel frustrating to try different medical interventions with subpar results.
A variety of thoughts and emotions will likely come up when your primary care physician recommends a pain management clinic. What should you expect when visiting this expert team?
The good news is that going to a pain management clinic gives you access to unique services and treatments that aren’t available through a general physician.
The Journey to a Pain Management Clinic
Many patients follow the same journey to pain management clinics:
- Initial Steps: Regardless of the type of pain you are experiencing, you likely tried to manage it at home first. For example, it’s common to take over-the-counter pain relievers and try different methods, such as heating pads or ice packs, to manage the symptoms.
- Talking to a Doctor: When these at-home remedies aren’t sufficient, or the pain continues for more than a few days or weeks, patients usually reach out to their primary care physician for support. A general doctor can provide basic treatments or recommendations.
- Referral to a Specialist: Depending on the type of injury or illness, your primary care physician might not be trained or experienced to help with pain management. So, they might refer you to talk to a pain clinic for specialized treatments.
It’s important to understand that general physicians don’t have the same training or resources for managing pain. These doctors manage a variety of health conditions and illnesses, which means they don’t have the time or specialty to focus on a specific service – such as pain management.
On the other hand, a pain management specialist works with patients and treatments all day that focuses on managing pain and reducing related symptoms. When working with a pain management team, you can have confidence in knowing that they are constantly up to date on the latest techniques and treatments in this subspecialty.
Why Doctors Refer to Pain Management Clinics
There are a variety of reasons why a doctor might refer you to talk to a pain management specialist.
Treatments Aren’t Working
Often, primary care doctors will use general treatments and the tools they have to help patients with pain management. But these treatments often focus on prescription medications for pain relief. The pills might temporarily reduce the pain, but the pain returns because the root cause isn’t addressed.
If you and your primary care physician can see that the treatments aren’t working to provide the relief that you need, then it’s likely that your doctor will refer you to meet with a pain management specialist.
Finding the Right Provider
One of the benefits of a referral to a pain management specialist is that your primary care physician can offer recommendations about the ideal provider for you to visit. There are many different types of pain management doctors. Finding the best fit ensures that you achieve results quickly and effectively.
Your primary care physician likely has a good network in the local medical industry. They can offer recommendations about the ideal provider you can visit for help.
Managing Chronic Conditions
Chronic pain is one of the most challenging to treat, especially when a primary care physician has a hard time identifying the root of the pain. If you have pain that lasts more than a few weeks or months, then visiting with a pain management specialist might be the right approach.
Our clinic has experience helping patients who are living with pain. Whether you are experiencing pain on a daily basis or you have episodes where the pain flares up regularly, then we invite you to talk to us about the options for pain management.
Certain pain management treatments are only available through a specialized clinic. These services have been found to be effective in managing many different types of pain and chronic health conditions.
Recent Trauma or Surgery
Another reason why you might be referred to a pain management clinic is that you’ve recently been through a significant experience resulting in pain or injury. Two common examples include a car accident or surgery.
Visiting a pain management clinic not only helps to alleviate your current pain. But these pain management services can often speed up the recovery process.
Pain management is typically recommended when the symptoms are challenging, severe, difficult to diagnose, and/or long-lasting.
Unable to Find the Root of the Pain
Using pain relievers is only a temporary strategy because these medications numb the pain without getting to the root cause of the issues. When your primary care physician can’t find the root cause, it becomes difficult to find a treatment that works.
Unfortunately, there are times when conditions are misdiagnosed, which increases the likelihood of the treatment being ineffective. If a medical provider is offering a treatment plan for the wrong condition, then it’s unlikely that you’ll receive the relief you need.
On the other hand, a referral to a pain management clinic gives you access to qualified experts that can assist with a thorough and accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan to match. A variety of scans and tests are available through a pain management clinic, making it easier to get the right diagnosis.
Treatment Goals in a Pain Management Clinic
The services you receive in a pain management clinic depend on your health conditions and the team you work with. Our pain management team focuses on specific goals to help you feel better and improve your overall lifestyle.
- Increasing level of functioning at home and work
- Reducing pain symptoms as much as possible
- Making it easier to maintain control of your health and life
- Diagnosing the root of pain and symptoms
- Educating patients about pain science
- Providing tools for managing pain at home
As the pain starts to subside, many patients find that they can return to their normal activities at home and work. As a result, confidence increases, and they feel better about their lives.
Talk to Our Pain Management Specialists
If you need support with pain management, then we invite you to reach out to our team to schedule a consultation. We work with many different patients, offering personalized care using research-based methods and alternative treatments.
Our team at Kentuckiana Pain Specialists is here to support you. We use a comprehensive pain management approach, incorporating multiple disciplines to help patients achieve the best relief possible. We are located in Louisville, Kentucky, and serve patients of all ages throughout the area.