Q. Is there a cost involved in participating in the pain program?
A. Most services are covered by MSP.
Q. How do I get into the Pain Program?
A. Your family physician or a specialist refers all clients seen in the Pain Program.
Q. What tests or scans should I have done in preparation to my visit to the clinic?
A. X-rays, CT Scans, M.R.I.’s, or Bone Scans as deemed appropriate by your physician and done within 2 years of your referral.
Q. What does the term ‘Interdisciplinary’ mean?
A. Various professionals work as a team to put together a plan for the care and management of a person suffering with chronic pain. We call this approach 'interdisciplinary' because it involves several disciplines, or professional areas of expertise.
Q. What can I expect once my Family Physician has sent a referral to the Pain Clinic?
A. A clinical specialist reads all referrals as they arrive. The referrals are then classified by set criteria determined by our pain physicians. Following this, the team will see patients based on urgency. This means that it may be advantageous to begin your treatment with an appointment with someone other than an interventional physician.
Q. What is neuropathic pain?
A. Like any other part of the body, nerves can be damaged or diseased. If a damaged nerve stops working properly, it may send the wrong message to the brain. As a result, the brain may get a pain message from an area of the body that has not actually been hurt. This is neuropathic pain. It is most often described as burning, pins and needles, electrical shock, numbness or even “walking on glass”.
Q. Who orders my medications?
A. The pain physicians may suggest medications and or topical creams for you and write your initial prescription, but your family physician should continue to manage your medications and can re-order the medications prescribed by the pain physician.
Q. Who can I phone for advice?
A. The nurse's phone line is available during clinic hours for you to phone with questions or concerns about your pain or your treatment. The phone line has voicemail on it so you can leave a brief message.
The nurse will make every effort to return your call in a timely fashion, but if you need help urgently you will should contact your family physician or the emergency department.
Q. Do the treatments hurt?
A. Most treatments or injections are given with local anesthetic or “freezing” to minimize your discomfort. It is recommended that you bring someone with you to drive you home, as you may not be able to drive following a procedure due to numbness.
Q. Will I have a procedure the first time I see the pain specialist?
A. Often, a treatment is done if it can be done on the first visit. Therefore if you are on a “blood thinner” such as ASA, plavix, coumadin, warfarin or low-molecular weight heparin (tinzaparin) and some anti-inflammatories we need to know this ahead of time. You may need to stop these drugs prior to your visit under the direction of your family physician. You may also need to have a blood test such as an INR just prior to your visit.