Why is the wait time for a Pain Management Clinic appointment so long?
Although we have ten doctors working within the St. Joseph's Pain Management Clinic, each doctor only works one, or at most two, days per week in the clinic as they have duties in their primary specialty (e.g. anesthesiology, neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation). We receive 40-50 referrals per week. Each new assessment takes one hour at a minimum. If you are unable to make your appointment please inform the clinic at least 72 hours in advance so one of the patients on the waiting list can be scheduled instead.
My Pain Management Clinic doctor has referred me to a psychologist. Does this mean he/she thinks my pain is in my head?
The pain causes changes in your life, sleep, work, recreation and relationships with family members. The resulting anxiety and depression make the pain harder to deal with. Working with a psychologist often helps people to see things differently and learn to regain some control over their lives. Please see Benefits of Psychological Therapy for Pain.
Will my pain go away with treatment?
Many people arrive at the Pain Management Clinic after months to years of pain with the expectation that finally a treatment will be provided to eliminate their pain. If the pain has been present for more than six months, it is unlikely that this will happen.
Depending on the particular problem, your pain may be reduced to a more manageable level by a nerve block, certain medication, a combination of medications or perhaps an infusion. The search for the best combination of therapies with the least amount of side effects can be lengthy and frustrating. Be prepared to work with your pain doctor for several months to find the best option for you.
Can my family doctor continue to prescribe medications for me when I am attending the Pain Management Clinic?
This depends on the medication. The family doctor can prescribe medications other than narcotics (opioids) but only one doctor should be prescribing narcotics for you. Sometimes the Pain Management Clinic doctor will write suggestions to your family doctor, and then he/she will write the prescription and follow up with you as to how well it is working. At other times the doctor in the clinic will take over writing the narcotic prescriptions while they are trying to determine the best dose. If that is the case, they will ask you to sign a "Patient Agreement to Opioid" letter, which states that you will not receive opioids from any other doctor while the agreement is in effect. The goal is to discharge you back to the care of your family doctor once a treatment plan for your chronic pain problem has been determined.
Why do I need a driver to come with me to certain appointments?
Sometimes the treatment offered will be a nerve block, or an intravenous infusion. These treatments may temporarily impair your ability to drive, either by causing sedation or by blocking sensation to a limb for several hours.