8 tips for having the best pain management appointment

January 5, 2021

pain management appointmentsWe will be the first ones to admit that helping our patients manage their chronic pain is challenging. Very rarely can we cure pain, but we do have many treatment options available to improve pain. 

Pain is subjective, and often all we have to go on is what you tell us about the pain you are experiencing. This is why your pain management appointments with your doctor at Southside Pain are crucial for correctly diagnosing and treating your condition. Coming into your appointment prepared and with a plan can help us make the most of your appointment.

Tips to have a productive pain management appointment

Your doctor will come into the appointment as prepared as possible, but we love it when our patients are prepared as well. But how can you do this? Here are some of the things you can do that will be most helpful.

Have someone go to the appointment with you

This can be helpful in many ways, but it’s especially important if you, as the patient, are currently in a lot of pain at the time of your appointment. In this case, it may be difficult for you to express your thoughts and concerns in a clear manner. A friend or family member can speak on your behalf and listen for you. Even if you are not experiencing a lot of pain at your appointment, another set of ears to listen to the doctor and remember what the doctor says is always beneficial.

Check in early

Pain management appointments will always go better when all involved are calm, cool, and collected. If you are late to your appointment or very rushed when checking in, it may set a negative tone for your appointment. Aim to arrive at our office to get checked in at least 15 minutes early so you have plenty of time. 

Be prepared with documentation

Any documentation you have about your pain, previous injuries, surgeries, and more will be helpful to us. This might include a list of medications you currently take or that you have taken in the past, x-rays you’ve had done, or other test results. Go ahead and be over-prepared and bring anything along you think we might need to see.

Be descriptive when talking about pain

The description of your pain that you give us is extremely important, so be sure you are specific with details. Where exactly does it hurt when you walk? Is the pain in your back sharp, dull, or burning? 

The more descriptive you are, the better equipped your doctor will be in understanding how to help you. We also want to know details about how you are able to function on a daily basis. How do you do with driving, cooking meals, or other chores and responsibilities? How you feel and how you function are related to your quality of life, sense of independence, and overall happiness, all of which play a role in effective pain management. 

Ask questions and ask for clarification when needed

Once your appointment has started, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t fully understand the answers or anything else your doctor says, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Having both patient and doctor on the same page is crucial when it comes to pain management.

Take notes

Write down the questions you have prior to your appointment so you don’t forget them. It can be hard to remember everything once your doctor is actually there in the room with you. This is why it’s also helpful to take notes about answers and other things your doctor says. 

Have a clear, specific goal in mind

Wanting your pain to go away is something we can all work toward, but that’s not very specific or clear. Instead of blanket statements such as this, think about what your true, realistic goals are. For example, maybe you want to be able to go back to work or you hope to manage your pain effectively without medication. If your doctor agrees that those goals are within reach, they should be the focus of your appointment.

Don’t forget to mention the good things

While we need to know about the negatives and the areas where you need help, we also love to hear about where you are progressing and seeing success. Let your doctor know what treatments or medicines are helping. Talk about how yoga, swimming, or physical therapy is having an impact. Discussing the positive side of your pain management can be very beneficial for both doctor and patient.  

Start your pain management journey by scheduling an appointment at Southside Pain Specialists

With highly specialized training and a multitude of pain relief options, Southside Pain Specialists follow the standards of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, The American Board of Pain Medicine, and the International Spinal Injection Society. We work hard to provide patients with comprehensive, caring pain relief when they need it most. Check out our website or contact us today at 205.332.3155 to learn more.