What is my Pain Condition?
If you are searching for a diagnosis on your pain condition and want to know the details surrounding your pain problems, you are not alone. Increasingly, patients want to know for themselves more about their own health status, and the modern diagnostic technology and the comprehensive pain assessment process implemented by the physicians at our pain management center are allowing this to happen. Questions which provoke answers that will aid in pain assessment and diagnosis, and the formulation of an individualized treatment plan are as follows: when/how did your pain start and how often does it occur?; what does your pain feel like and at what level is your pain on a scale from 0-10?; what increases/decreases your pain?; do you have any numbness or weakness?; does your pain wake you up at night or keep you from falling asleep?; and do you have any changes in your bowel/bladder?
We encourage you to be open and honest during initial evaluation consultations so that we are able to help you manage your pain and find relief for a better quality of life. To obtain an accurate diagnosis and to learn more about your acute or chronic pain condition, contact our pain management center.
Is my Procedure for Diagnostic and/or Treatment Application?
Aside from asking you a series of questions that pertain to your symptoms – such as location, frequency, intensity, radiation, and duration of pain – as well as establishing your history of illness, injury, and surgery, the physicians at our pain management center may recommend tests to obtain an accurate pain diagnosis. Some procedures may be performed strictly for diagnostic purposes, while others may have therapeutic benefit. For example, x-rays, computerized axial tomography (CAT or CT) scans, bone scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are generally used to determine what is causing the pain, and epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, peripheral nerve blocks, and trigger point injections often serve a dual role – to diagnose and help reduce pain.
It is important to note that testing is done to show normalities and abnormalities only. Accurate clinical diagnosis for a patient’s acute or chronic pain condition is based on correlating the findings of the diagnostic tests with the patient’s specific symptoms and the physician’s findings from a complete physical exam. For a full list of available diagnostic procedures and/or to learn more about the tests that can be used for both diagnostic and treatment application, contact our pain management center. Our team of healthcare professionals will help you solve the mystery of what is causing your pain and help you find the relief you deserve.
What can I Expect Before, During, and After my Procedure?
Before a Pain Management and Treatment Procedure
During consultation days prior to your scheduled procedure, our physicians and/or nurses will provide you with instructions to follow in the 6, 12, or 24 hours leading up to your appointment time. Instructions may vary based on the procedure. You may be asked to avoid eating, drinking, or smoking, and those that regularly take blood thinners may be asked to discontinue use for at least seven days before the procedure. Also, you may be asked to complete a series of forms in advance and bring them with you to your visit.
During a Pain Management and Treatment Procedure
Administration of medications, physical position of the body, and the medical process all differ based on the procedure you will undertake. Some pain management procedures require the use of local anesthetics – or numbing medicine in which you remain awake and alert – while others require general anesthetics – or medicine that puts one in a state of total unconsciousness. Pain management procedures can last as short a time as 20 minutes (for treatments such as trigger point injections) or as long as three hours (for treatments such as spinal cord stimulation).
After a Pain Management and Treatment Procedure
Many of our in-office procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis allowing you to go home the same day after about an hour recovery time, whereas procedures involving a 24-hour observation period require patients to stay overnight. Patients undergoing procedures involving the use of anesthesia will not be permitted to drive after treatment. Consequently, a friend or family member must be present to provide transportation; otherwise the procedure will not be performed. Patients who feel post-operative pain may be provided with an intravenous (IV) line or oral pain killers.
When Should I Seek Help for my Pain?
You may find your pain to be too difficult to live with day in and day out; however, you may know someone else in similar pain who copes for years without treatment. Everyone feels pain differently. It is important that one does not gauge their own level of pain against the experiences of others, but rather decide for themselves whether or not their pain is tolerable. If you experience one or a combination of the following, it may be time to seek help:
- Pain that lasts longer than 4-6 weeks after an injury or illness
- Pain for which you cannot reason the source
- Unusual increase in moodiness or irritability over things that formerly weren’t bothersome
- Insomnia or any inability to sleep due to pain
- “Crashing fatigue” (where you are fine one minute and then so tired the next that you are barely able to move and stay awake) or any feeling of tiredness more than your normal amount
- Muscle aches and stiffness lasting longer than normal (just a few days)
Upon initial consultation with one of our pain management physicians, be sure to convey your symptoms in a confident manner. When you take your acute or chronic pain seriously, our physicians make helping you find pain relief a priority.