How To Select A Pain Clinic
Posted: Jan 12, 2014
A pain clinic is a health care facility that centers on the diagnosis and management of chronic pain. Some concentrate on specific diagnoses or in pain related to a specific region of the body. Also called pain management clinics, pain clinics often use a multifaceted approach to help people take an active role in managing their pain and regaining control of their life. These programs are focused on the total person, not just the pain.
What a Pain Clinic Does
Although pain clinics vary in their focus and offerings, most involve a team of health care providers that can help you with a variety of strategies to manage your pain. These health care providers are likely to include doctors of different specialties as well as non-physician providers specializing in the diagnosis and management of chronic pain. These providers may include psychologists, physical therapists, and complementary and alternative therapists such as acupuncturists or massage therapists. Together, they will put together a pain management plan for you.
How to Find a Good Pain Clinic
If you decide you want to try a pain clinic, your doctor should be able to refer you to one that offers services to help your specific pain problem. If your doctor cannot help you, try the following:
Your local hospital - Ask your local hospital or medical center if they have or are associated with a pain treatment center. If the hospital does not have one, ask to speak with their department of anesthesiology, which may have doctors on staff who can refer you to a pain clinic.
Medical school - Touch base with your nearest medical school, which is probably affiliated with a private or state university.
Organizations - Organizations that support pain research and/or advocate for pain patients may be able to help.
Because there are many forms of pain treatment and not all centers offer the same services, it's imperative to do your homework before you consent to treatment. Find out what types of pain therapies are offered, what the specialists' credentials are, and if they have positively helped others with your type of pain.
When checking out a pain clinic, plan an appointment to meet with the team. If you feel comfortable with them, it will be much easier for you to make progress. Asking yourself the following questions can also help you determine if a pain clinic is right for you.
Does the staff treat you with compassion and respect?
Does the clinic share your beliefs and goals for treatment?
Does the pain clinic develop treatment plans based on individual needs?
Does it involve you in designing treatment?
Does it involve your family in treatment goals?
Will your health care team communicate frequently with one another?
Will your health care team communicate frequently and effectively with you, your family, and your primary physician?
Does the clinic monitor your progress?
Does the clinic have formal follow-up with patients?
For patients attending pain clinics, the explanation of their pain problem is as important as the cure or relief of their pain. Improved understanding of patient expectations by pain clinic clinicians may lead to greater patient satisfaction and reduced treatment dropout.
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