You've got questions, we've got answers
What is pain?
Pain is an uncomfortable feeling that tells you something may be wrong. It can be steady, throbbing, stabbing, aching, pinching, or described in many other ways. Sometimes, it’s just a nuisance, like a mild headache. Other times it can be debilitating.
Can you cure my pain?
Pain is classified as either acute or chronic. Acute pain is usually severe and short-lived, and is often a signal that your body has been injured. Chronic pain can range from mild to severe, is present for long periods of time, and is often the result of a disease that may require ongoing treatment.
What can I expect on my first visit?
1. Bring your questions and medications, preferably in a plastic baggy or something similar so nothing gets lost! We strive to be more than your health care providers. We want to be family friends, confidants. Remember, anything you tell us will never leave the exam room. We care about you immensely, no question is dumb or embarrassing. Please discuss freely your diet, exercise, sex, sleep and disabilities as well as your future goals.
2. Bring a notebook and pen/pencil if you think you’ll want to take notes. Sometimes doctors don’t realize their patients can’t keep all these medical terms and stuff organized!
3. Bring a friend! Or family member, or spouse, it doesn’t matter! It’s always good to have a trusted adviser with you, sometimes they can ask questions you would have never thought of.
4. Learn about our Patient Portal ,ask our staff, they’d be more than willing to help. If this is your first time visiting our practice, make sure to tell us why you’re here!
5. After the appointment is over, make sure to ask your doctor if there are any new files or notes he would like you to have. Our doctors stay so busy, sometimes they forget!
6. Remember to renew prescriptions at least until the next appointment, and make sure that it is sent to your preferred pharmacy. We want to make getting healthy easy for you, so help us out! If you’re worried about any possible medication interactions or dietary changes, ask your doctor.
7. Book your follow-up appointment! The doctor should tell you how soon you need to come back in, or if you need to at all. When you check-out, we will give you a paper with your next appointment printed on it, or if you would prefer, we can email it!
8. Make sure you fully understand what the doctor is asking of you and how your treatment plan will work. Patients play an important role in their doctor’s visits, as they are the ones who have to live with the outcome!
9. If you are having financial difficulties, please discuss this with your physician, you may qualify for assistance programs through our Physicians Circle For Patients Non-Profit. We are glad to help you get the care you need. You should have some kind of proof of income to justify any low income assistance programs that could help you.
10. If you are a medicare patient, ask for a description of the chronic care management and preventive services offered to all medicare recipients.
11. For your after hours emergencies or questions, we have a call center that is open 24 hours 7 days a week. Your health and satisfaction is our priority.
12. Don’t forget to fill out your visit survey at the checkout desk, and if you remember you have unanswered questions then the checkout desk can get you back to your doctor’s to complete the visit. We do not want you to go home with unanswered questions. Our appointment card which has 24/7 after hours call support. You must call us early if you develop any sort of new symptoms or sickness so that we can help you avoid serious problems or emergency room visits
What can a Pain Management specialist do to help me? What is a Pain Management specialist?
Anyone who has a pain problem which has not been eased with the help of your primary care doctor and the usual medications should be evaluated by a doctor who is specially trained to treat various pain problems. As with any type of physician, you should seek a doctor who has completed a fellowship program and is Board Certified in Pain Management. The doctor will devise a plan to ease the pain and improve your ability to enjoy activities which the pain may have been preventing. This plan is very individualized and may consist of medications, special pain relief injections or specific exercises to ease the pain. People who suffer from chronic pain may develop sleep problems or depression. A Pain management specialist is trained to treat all aspects of your health which may be affected by your pain problem.
How can I avoid chronic pain?
The best way to avoid chronic pain is to treat acute pain aggressively and appropriately. For example, when a person first experiences severe pain, anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen help promote healing and prevent abnormal pain impulses from developing. Prolonged, severe pain can cause anxiety, depression and insomnia which in turn decrease a person’s pain tolerance. Pain causes depression which causes more pain. This “Cycle of Pain” can be very difficult to break once it starts. This is why it is important to see a Pain Management specialist when the usual treatments aren’t working.
How can I become a patient at your clinic?
Simple! Call our office, our make an appointment! We are always accepting new patients and will work hard to get you an appointment ASAP.
Do I need a referral to go to your clinic?
No. If you tell us your primary care physician, we do all the work and get all of your medical records from them at no cost for you!
Do you take patients with no insurance?
Yes we allow self-pay. Many insurances do cover pain management, so if you don't want to pay out-of-pocket, make sure to check with your provider!
When do I get my pain medication?
Your first visit will most likely not include a prescription of any kind. Our doctors strive to treat pain without medication, using it only when absolutely necessary. This ensures that our patients receive the absolute best quality of care, rather than a one-size-fits-all drug.
How much does it cost to be seen at your pain clinic?
That will depend largely on you. Your type of pain, insurance coverage, and medications required will all influence the cost. We do everything we can to decrease costs for our patients.
When do I need a urine test?
Unfortunately, pain medications are frequently abused. In order to make sure that these medications go to patients that truly need them, we administer a urine test to check for other illegal drugs. With the growing number of deaths surrounding pain medication abuse, we are doing our part to protect our patients.
What will happen if I don't show up to an appointment?
You will be charged a $25 fee, payable at your next appointment.
How long will I need to wait to get into your clinic?
We are typically able to make an appointment the same week you call in. Our in-office wait times vary depending upon patient loads, but most patients do not wait longer than 45 minutes.
I am on my blood pressure medication. Are those the same things as blood thinners?
No, blood pressure medicine and blood thinning medicine are two different things. It is important that we know if you are taking blood thinners. You may be advised to stop your blood thinner medication for a couple of days before a procedure, but you will never be asked to stop your blood pressure medication.
What kind of tests do I need to have to get into your pain clinic?
Typically we start with a pain consultation. We rate your pain, locate it and begin the process of creating a pain treatment plan tailored to fit your needs. Every person's pain is different, so it is difficult to say exactly what tests you will need before you are seen by one of our Pain Management Specialists.
What days are your clinics open?
Our Athens Office is open 8am-4:30pm every Saturday. Our Lavonia Office is Open 8am-5pm every Wednesday.
How do I transfer my care from one pain clinic to yours?
If you give us your pain clinic's info and the name of the doctor that treated you, we will get all your records and tests from them so that you can be transferred smoothly.
What do I need to bring for my first appointment before I can be accepted to your clinic?
The New Patient Packet that can be found on the "New Patient Forms" page of our website. Information regarding what insurances we take are also located there.
How can I send you my medical records?
Please give us the contact info for your primary physician and any other physicians you may see, and we will collect your records for you.
How do I get my medical records from your clinic and how much does it cost?
Please see our medical records page.
What happens if I get sick or my pain increases, whom do I call after hours?
We have a 24 hour emergency hotline just for these sorts of occurrences. Once you are a patient with our pain clinic, we will provide that number for you.
How do I get my test results from other doctors and send them to you?
Tests are similar to medical records, we will take care of it if you give us your doctors' names and contact information.
How can I see my test results online?
When you go to check out, our front desk staff will guide you through the process of creating a patient portal, which you can then log into from any internet-capable computer or cellular device.
What happens if I go to the hospital and they see pain medication in my records?
They will most likely contact us and ask any questions they may have. We can transfer files, tests and lab results to any physician who is in your primary care network. To make sure any new hospitals or physicians are entered into your primary care network, please call our offices at 1-844-641-0036. Make sure to tell the doctor that you are going through a pain management treatment course, so that they can adjust their care accordingly. Many pain medications are powerful, so it is best if your doctor is aware of all the medications you are on.
Which pain medication is most effective?
The most effective medication depends on what is causing the pain. For example, narcotic medications are very helpful for certain severe pain problems, but may do very little to help pain which is due to chronic tissue inflammation, muscle spasm or nerve irritation. All pain problems cannot be alleviated with the same medication.To make matters more complex, different people may respond to the same medication in different ways. One person may have great pain relief with medication A and another person may not have any relief with the same medication. This is why a doctor’s full evaluation is necessary before prescribing any pain medication in order to identify all of the possible factors which may be causing the chronic pain situation.