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What to Expect At Your First Pain Management Visit?

June 10, 2024

Acupuncture Q & A

What Is Acupuncture Treatment?

Acupuncture is a type of treatment that originated in China more than 3,000 years ago. Acupuncturists use extremely slim needles, placing them in key areas on the body to alleviate pain in a natural way. The needles create a balance in the body’s energy, which allows the body to return to its optimal pain-free state.

There are several types of acupuncture. In moxibustion, moxa taken from dried mugwort warms key areas and helps with smooth qi energy flow. In auricular acupuncture, points on the outer ear are stimulated for healing. In cupping therapy, suction is used to help stimulate blood flow and promote healing.

Living with chronic pain can be an incredibly challenging and isolating experience. It takes a lot of courage to seek help, and you should be proud of yourself for taking this important first step toward finding relief.

It's completely normal to feel nervous or overwhelmed about your first pain management appointment. 

You might have questions swirling around in your head: What will happen during the visit? How should I prepare? What if I don't know how to describe my pain?

First, take a deep breath. 

It's okay to have these concerns, and you're not alone in feeling this way. Many people experience anxiety about seeking treatment for chronic pain, but knowing what to expect can help ease some of that worry and help you feel more prepared.

In this guide, we'll walk you through what typically happens during a first pain management appointment, from the moment you walk in the door to the follow-up steps you can take after your visit. We'll also provide tips on how to prepare for your appointment, so you can feel confident and ready to take this important step.

How to Prepare For Your Pain Management Appointment?

a patient making notes of her medical history

Preparing for your first pain management appointment is essential for a productive and informative visit. By gathering relevant information and taking a few simple steps, you can help your doctor better understand your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan.

  • First, collect any medical records related to your pain, such as previous treatments, medications, and diagnostic tests. This might include reports from X-rays, MRI scans, or blood tests. 

Having this information on hand will give your doctor a clearer picture of your medical history and help them identify any underlying factors contributing to your pain.

  • Next, consider keeping a pain diary to document your symptoms, triggers, and the effectiveness of any self-management techniques you've tried. This will help your doctor tailor their recommendations to your specific needs.
  • Write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss with your pain management doctor, including inquiries about potential treatments, side effects, or how to manage pain in specific situations. Having a list prepared ensures that you don't forget anything important during your visit.
  • Dress in loose, comfortable clothing that allows for easy movement, and avoid wearing jewelry or accessories that could interfere with any physical examinations or diagnostic tests.
  • Finally, consider arranging for transportation to and from your appointment, especially if you anticipate receiving any treatments that may cause drowsiness or limit your mobility.

H2: What Happens at a Pain Management Appointment?

a doctor discussing an x-ray with a patient‍

Your first pain management appointment is a thorough evaluation of your condition, allowing your doctor to understand your pain and its impact on your life:

Step 1: Comprehensive Medical History and Pain Assessment

Your doctor will discuss your pain history, including its onset, duration, intensity, and characteristics. They'll review your medical history, medications, and previous treatments, and assess how pain affects your daily life, work, and relationships.

Step 2: Physical Examination

Your doctor will evaluate your posture, gait, and range of motion, checking for tenderness, swelling, or muscle tension. They may perform neurological tests to assess nerve function and identify any damage or compression.

Step 3: Diagnostic Tests (if needed)

Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend X-rays, MRI, or CT scans to visualize the affected area. Blood tests may be done to rule out underlying conditions, and nerve function tests (or electromyography) may be performed to evaluate nerve damage.

Step 4: Treatment Plan Development

You and your doctor will discuss your goals and preferences for pain management. They'll review available treatment options, including medications, injections, physical therapy, and complementary therapies. 

Together, you'll develop a personalized, multimodal treatment plan that addresses your unique needs.

What To Do After Your Visit?

a person doing yoga

After your first pain management appointment, your journey toward better pain control continues. To stay on track, there are several important steps you can take:

  • First, schedule follow-up visits with your pain management doctor. These regular check-ins allow your doctor to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
  • Between appointments, take an active role in your pain management by implementing self-management techniques. 

Engage in gentle exercise, such as swimming or yoga, to improve flexibility and reduce pain. Practice stress reduction techniques, like deep breathing or meditation, to manage stress and muscle tension. 

Make lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough sleep, to support better pain control.

Keep open communication with your pain management doctor. If you experience changes in your symptoms or side effects from treatments, let your doctor know. This feedback helps them fine-tune your treatment plan to ensure you're getting the best possible care.

Take the First Step Towards Pain Relief

a pain management doctor treating a patient

As you embark on your pain management journey, remember that you are not alone. Many people struggle with chronic pain, and seeking help is a brave and important step towards finding relief.

At Complete Wellness, we understand the challenges you face. We offer a mix of pain management techniques, such as epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks, and spinal cord stimulation to provide comprehensive relief and help you get back to feeling your best self.

Our approach to pain management is unique in that we address all aspects of your life that may be contributing to your pain: physical, mental, and emotional. 

We continuously track your progress, provide feedback, and adjust your care plan as your health needs evolve. 

If you're ready to take control of your health and find your best self, book your first pain management appointment with Complete Wellness today. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is it worth going to pain management?

Yes, seeking help from a pain management specialist can be incredibly beneficial for those struggling with chronic pain. Pain management doctors have the expertise and tools to diagnose the root cause of your pain and develop a personalized treatment plan to help you find relief and improve your quality of life.

2. How do you explain severe pain to a doctor?

When describing your pain to a doctor, be as specific as possible. Use descriptive words to explain how your pain feels and rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most severe. Discuss how your pain affects your daily activities, sleep, and mood to help your doctor understand the impact it has on your life.

3. What is the difference between pain medicine and pain management?

Pain medicine focuses primarily on the use of medications to treat pain, while pain management takes a more comprehensive approach. Pain management incorporates a variety of treatments, including medications, injections, physical therapy, and complementary therapies, to address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of chronic pain.

4. Can a doctor deny you pain medication?

Yes, a doctor can deny you pain medication if they believe it is not the best course of treatment for your condition or if there are concerns about potential side effects or risks. However, a good pain management doctor will work with you to find alternative treatments that can effectively manage your pain without relying solely on medication.

5. What does a red flag mean in pain management?

In pain management, a "red flag" refers to a sign or symptom that may indicate a more serious underlying condition requiring immediate attention. Examples of red flags include severe pain that comes on suddenly, pain accompanied by fever or unexplained weight loss, and pain that does not improve with treatment.

Complete wellness

Medically reviewed by Complete Wellness on Jun 21, 2024

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