What to Expect Prior to Your Visit
The visit process starts with making an appointment. Our electronic record system will then be activated to query you via email or text to activate you appointment which results in electronic forms to be made available to you via text or email links to our system so you can fill them out at your convenience. If you can fill out prior to your visit day, it is more efficient otherwise it delays your visit as you fill them out in the office on a computer tablet. You can come 45” prior to your appointment to fill the forms out as well.
We try to get you medical records ahead of time but kindly ask for your help to get them as well; often you can pick them up at your referring doctors’ offices; if radiological studies such as xrays, MRI or other studies have been done, getting a copy of the results and the actual images on a disc are beneficial as well. We can return them after copying into our archive system for your future use which could useful in the future for you.
We also ask you to think about your symptoms such as when they appeared, quality of them, location of them, factors that worsen and improve them, and any treatments that have been used to treat them such as medication doses, frequency, and duration, interventional procedures, and physical therapy done for them. The clinicians will need to obtain details of these items to best formulate a treatment plan specific for your pain generator. Thanks ahead of time for doing this.
What to Expect for You Visit
A new patient evaluation at a pain clinic typically involves several steps to assess the patient's pain and determine the most appropriate course of treatment.
The first step is usually a thorough history of the patient's present symptoms. This may include questions about the location and intensity of the pain, as well as any other related symptoms the patient is experiencing, such as numbness or tingling. The clinician may also ask about the duration of the pain, any triggers or aggravating factors, and any previous treatments the patient has tried.
Current medications including name, dose, frequency, and duration are part of the paperwork that is completed by patients so that the clinician can review them. Patients are also asked to provide previous medication details so that a determination can be made if the medication was a proper trial for their symptoms. Allergies and other medical conditions that patients are currently managing are also on the intake information forms that a clinician reviews.
The clinician may also ask about the patient's social history, including their occupation, level of physical activity, and any other factors that may be contributing to the pain.
The clinician will review images provided on cd discs from radiologic studies and the radiology reports of those studies along with any results of other diagnostic tests such as bone scans, EMG/NCV, and blood chemistry. The prescription monitoring programs of Iowa and Illinois will be reviewed if needed.
The physical examination portion of the evaluation typically involves a thorough assessment of the patient's body, including a review of their posture, range of motion, and any areas of tenderness or swelling. Frequently patients are asked to assume various positions for the examination that may elicit discomfort; the clinicians do not intend to cause pain but instead to elicit your symptoms which could be localized to a specific body part that is loaded or stressed by these positions.
Finally, the clinician will formulate a plan of treatment based on all of the information gathered during the evaluation. This may include a combination of medications, physical therapy, injections, or other interventions to help manage the patient's pain. The treatment plan may also include recommendations for lifestyle changes, such as exercise, dietary changes or stress management techniques, to help manage the patient's pain. The plan may be adjusted as needed based on the patient's response to treatment.
While we make every attempt to get records before an appointment, we cannot guarantee this will happen. The appointment is more efficient for patients if they can provide the needed information by arranging for records and cd’s containing radiologic images to be made available to us usually easiest by bringing them to our office. It is also helpful for patients to think about the above listed aspects of their medical history and current symptoms before arrival as it sometimes is hard to reliably recall dates, medication details, treatment details and imaging that has been done. It can be frustrating to deal with all this but the systems of record sharing are lacking and legal requirements although burdensome necessary for us to follow. Thank you for your effort to help us make your appointment as worthwhile as possible.