PATIENT EXPLANATION OF CHRONIC PAIN PROGRAM
The doctor has referred you for treatment with our office’s chronic pain management program. The answers to the following frequently asked questions will help you.
WHY HAVE I BEEN REFERRED TO A CHRONIC PAIN PROGRAM?
The doctor believes that you have chronic pain syndrome~ Patients with this condition often find that a chronic pain management program very helpful to them. This type of program is designed for patients who have tried other forms of pain treatment but still have pain that is strong enough to keep them from functioning as well as they would like.
WHAT IS A CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROME?
Chronic pain is considered to be any pain that continues after the early treatment stages. Usually the pain lasts longer than six months after your original injury. Chronic pain syndrome includes all of the symptoms that often develop when someone experiences pain for a long period of time. This syndrome is characterized by some or all of the following symptoms: ongoing physical pain, progressive physical disability, progressive inability to perform everyday activities, increased depression, increased anxiety, increased feelings of hopelessness, increased irritability and increased family problems.
HOW IS CHRONIC PAIN DIFFERENT FROM REGULAR PAIN?
Regular (or acute) pain is the pain, which you would expect to feel immediately anytime you hurt yourself, whether you have cut your finger or injured our back. Chronic pain is pain that lasts for longer than six months after your injury. These two types of pain are very different. As a result, they require different treatments. For example, regular pain usually responds to traditional medical treatments and medications, but chronic pain often does not respond to these treatments. Therefore, doctors have had to design new types of treatment to help patients with chronic pain. This is why chronic pain management programs have been developed.
WHAT KINDS OF TREATMENT ARE INVOLVED IN A CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM?
Many different treatments can be included as a part of a chronic pain management program. Your chronic pain management program will be specifically designed to help with your particular problem. For this reason, your program may be somewhat different than everyone else’s. However, some or all of the following treatments are included as a part of a chronic pain management program: physical exercises, hot packs, cold packs, pool therapy, massage therapy, nutritional counseling, vocational counseling, biofeedback training, relaxation training and psychological counseling.
WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP TO PARTICIPATE IN A CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM?
Before beginning chronic pain management program your insurance carrier will require that you have an evaluation to see if such a program can help you. The evaluation is usually in two parts: a physical evaluation and a psychological evaluation.
WHY DO I NEED TO BE EVALUATED?
These evaluations will help the pain program staff learn more about your pain, what you can and cannot do physically and what problems your pain is causing for you. This information will help you and the staff decide if a pain management program will help you. . This information will also help the staff design a program that is just right for you. And, this information will help you and the staff assess whether or not the program is working. That is, you and the staff will be able to see how much more you are able to do, how much your pain has lessened, and how much your problems have decreased since the time of the evaluation. You may not need to have a physical evaluation if you have had one recently.
AM I GETTING A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION? DOES THE DOCTOR THINK THE PAIN IS “IN MY HEAD?”
No. The doctor does not believe you are making up your pain or that it is “in your head.” The doctor only recommends chronic pain management treatment for patients whose pain is real. If your doctor believed that your pain was not real, he would not be referring you for a chronic pain management program evaluation. The doctor’s “psychology team” has been specially trained to help patients decrease their physical pain. For Example, biofeedback training helps many patients deal with their pain. And, it is the doctor’s “psychology team” that can evaluate you to see if this type of treatment would be helpful for you. The doctor also understands that patients with chronic pain often have become depressed, irritated and anxious as a result. And, it is best to have a specialist from his “psychology team” evaluate whether your pain is causing you to have these problems and haw they can best be treated.
AM I GETTING A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION BECAUSE THE DOCTOR THINKS I’M “CRAZY?”
No. The doctor does not believe that you are crazy. The doctor is referring you for a pain management program evaluation because he/she believes that your pain is real and he/she believes that pain management treatment can help you. If the doctor felt that you had significant mental health problems, he probably would refer you to someone outside of his office (for example, a psychiatrist who specializes in helping patients with significant. mental health problems). Instead, the doctor would like for you to be evaluated by this “psychology team” which is specifically trained to help people like you deal with their pain problems.
HOW DO I GET AN APPOINTMENT FOR THESE EVALUATIONS?
Someone from the doctor’s pain program staff will call you to schedule these two evaluations. The two evaluations probably will be scheduled on two separate days. Both evaluations will be scheduled at the doctor’s office. Your insurance carrier to tell you that they have given authorization for you to have these evaluations also may contact you.
ONCE I COMPLETE THE EVALUATIONS, WHEN CAN I START THE PROGRAM?
If the results of your evaluation show that you would likely benefit from the chronic pain management program, the program staff will make arrangements to have this treatment approved by your insurance carrier. Once the services have been approved, a pain management program staff member will contact you. At that time, you will be given a start date for your first day in the chronic pain management program. Your insurance carrier may also contact you and inform you of their approval to begin the program.
WHAT IS THE CHONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM LIKE?
The program lasts for 4-6 weeks, from 8:00 a m to about 5:00 p.m. each day. Treatments during each day include a mixture of educational, physical, and psychological treatments. These treatments also include a mixture of individual treatments and. group treatments. Everyone who will be treating you is specifically trained to help patients with chronic pain. They have been able to help many patients who have the same pains, concerns and problems that you have.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF THE CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM?
The main goal of the program is to help reduce your level of pain and help you manage your pain more effectively. Another goal is to help you return to a more normal, productive life. We want to help you regain the highest level of functioning and the best quality of life possible. We want you to leave the program with the sense that you can control your pain rather than have it control you.