When finding the right pain management clinic that will best serve your needs, there are a few things that you should find out before making your final decision.  It is important to find out if the physicians are board-certified and trained in their specialty and if you are comfortable with the clinic and physician. And once you determine which pain management clinic is the right one for you, make sure that you understand the pain management agreement that you will need to sign. After all, this is the physician who will be handling your pain management to provide you with relief from your chronic pain symptoms and also helping you to regain your life in healthy and productive ways.

Board-Certification, Training and Client Feedback

Currently, there are no established standards for the types of care offered by pain management clinics.  While it is important to find out if the clinic that you will be going to includes offers a physical rehabilitation specialist, a coordinating physician and a psychiatrist if you are experiencing depression as a result of your chronic pain, you should find out if the physicians that you will be working with are board-certified in pain management and trained in their specialty.    

Ask your primary care physician if he or she has any recommendations on clinics and the specialists who practice there.  Look up the physician online for comments from patients who have received treatment. Does the information provided have positive or negative comments?  Regardless of if there are positive or negative comments about the physician, what are they? Take notes on each physician and clinic that you research and write out the pros and cons of each.  This will help you to determine which pain management clinic and physicians will meet your needs.

Levels of Comfort and Consistency

Other things to find out is the level of comfort that you feel when first speaking with a pain management clinic.  Was your call answered by someone who had a kind, patient and information about which doctor may be taking new patients, which doctor specializes in the kind of pain that you are looking to relieve and the availability of the physician?  If you left a first general message on a voicemail for a clinic seeking general information, was the call returned within an hour? After speaking with the clinic to answer your basic questions, it is also important to find out if the clinic takes your insurance plan and the hours of the clinic.  The hours and insurance information will also help you to best determine if the clinic will fit into your schedule.

After speaking with your first contact, find out if and when you will speak directly with the doctor on the phone.  This will give you the opportunity to see if you have a good line of communication to best address your needs. You also should also determine if the physician is patient with you during your first line of communication. Your next step will be to set up an appointment for an initial in-person evaluation.

You need to be comfortable and candid with the physician in order for he or she to best help you, so don’t just “settle” on the first pain management clinic that you speak with.  It is best to speak to at least five different clinics to have a level of comparison, asking the same questions to each clinic that you speak with.

Signing a Pain Management Agreement

After you decide which pain management clinic you will be going to, you will be asked to sign a pain management agreement, the contract between you and your doctor.  This is an important contract to sign for both parties, as it is intended to be certain that if the doctor is recommending opioids as part of your pain management plan, that you will not abuse the prescribed drug.

As with any agreement or contract that you sign, make sure that you understand completely what you are signing.  This gives you the knowledge of what the rules of the contract entail. If you have any questions or concerns about what you are signing, you should ask your doctor to explain in its entirety in a calm, patient and understanding manner.  If you still feel uncertain about what you are signing, jot down your questions and ask your primary care physician for clarification. Remember that just because the agreement is in front of you does not mean that you have to sign it right at that moment.

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