Your Doctor and You

WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK MY DOCTOR? 

WebMD and Healthwise have come together to write this article that is extremely helpful for anyone visiting the Doctor but especially helpful for those of us dealing with Chronic Pain who must make very serious decisions that can impact our long-term health quite frequently. Read the article here

Some of the things they suggest we have talked about on RSDHope’s website before such as;

Why do I need the treatment? 
What will happen if I delay or avoid the treatment? 
Are there other treatment options?

These may seem like basic questions but so often when we get into the Drs. office we forget everything we were going to ask the doctor. I recommend printing out the article and bringing it with you whenever you go to your Dr. You may not need to ask all of the questions each time but you will know which ones to ask when you are there. Better yet, bring someone with you and have them ask the questions while the Dr. is examining you. 

ARTICLES ABOUT YOUR DOCTORS VISITS

HOW TO RUIN YOUR VISIT WITH YOUR DOCTOR HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR VISIT TO YOUR DOCTOR HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR DOCTORS APPOINTMENT 

WHAT TYPE OF DOCTOR TREATS PAIN?

Doctors who manage pain are frequently anesthesiologists. Anesthesiologists are doctors of medicine (M.D.) or osteopathy (D.O.) who make sure that you are safe, pain-free and comfortable during and following surgery. They also provide their services in other areas of the hospital – especially in the labor and delivery area – or in doctors’ offices where painful medical tests or procedures are performed. But not everyone realizes that decades of research and work done by anesthesiologists have led to the development of newer, more effective treatments for patients who have pain unrelated to surgery. Many techniques used to make surgery and childbirth virtually painless are now being used to relieve other types of pain. In fact, the work pioneered by anesthesiologists that led to these new medications and treatments also has created a new category of medicine called pain medicine. Frequently the anesthesiologist heads a team of other specialists and doctors who work together to help you manage your pain. The anesthesiologist or other pain medicine doctors (such as neurologists, oncologists, orthopedists, physiatrists and psychiatrists) and nonphysician specialists (such as nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical or rehabilitation therapists and psychologists) all work together to evaluate your condition. Then this “team” of specialists will develop a treatment plan designed just for you.

What type of training does a pain medicine doctor have?
Like other physicians, anesthesiologists earned a college degree and then completed four years of medical school. They spent four more years learning the medical specialty of anesthesiology and pain medicine during residency training. Many anesthesiologists who specialize in pain medicine receive an additional year of fellowship training to become a “subspecialist,” or an expert in treating pain. Some also have done research, and many have special certification in pain medicine through the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA). The ABA is the only organization recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to offer special credentials in pain medicine.

What does a pain medicine doctor do? Can these doctors find out why I hurt?

click on the link to discover this and much more!

From “The Management of Pain by Dr Azam – Click here to visit his website and read the rest of this excellent article.

WHAT IS A PAIN CLINIC AND WHAT DO THEY DO THERE? 

I often hear that the best type of facility to treat my CRPS or Chronic Pain is a Pain Clinic but; 

1) What exactly is a Pain Clinic? 
2) What do they do there?
3)  What types of Doctors do they have there? 
4) What can I expect if I go there? 
5) Would that be the only place I would have to go if I did go there?
6) Do they also do Physical Therapy in the same facility?

These are some of the questions we get asked at American RSDHope regarding Pain Clinics. So many patients have no idea what a Pain Clinic is because until they developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome they never had any need to go to one. This will give you some ideas of what a Pain Clinic is. .

Typically, a pain clinic is a location where doctors offer solutions to intractable pain. Conditions that generally respond well to pain clinic services are arthritis, back pain, and cancer. In addition, migraine headaches, shingles pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome pain frequently respond favorably to pain clinic treatments. Many primary care doctors refer their patients to pain clinics when they have exhausted other methods of pain relief.
(from the WiseGeek website)

Generally, pain management that is offered at a pain clinic include a combination of therapies. These treatments include medications, physical therapy, and nerve blocks. In addition, massage therapy is often an effective treatment for pain relief, swelling and stress. Not only does the pain clinic treat acute pain, it also performs diagnostic services to determine where the pain is originating.

On the WebMD website you can read the following description of a Pain Clinic;

A pain clinic is a health care facility that focuses on the diagnosis and management of chronic pain. Some specialize in specific diagnoses or in pain related to a specific region of the body. Also called pain management clinics, pain clinics often use a multidisciplinary approach to help people take an active role in managing their pain and regaining control of their life. These programs are focused on the total person, not just the pain.

Although pain clinics differ in their focus and offerings, most involve a team of health care providers that can help you with a variety of strategies to manage your pain.

These health care providers are likely to include doctors of different specialties as well as non-physician providers specializing in the diagnosis and management of chronic pain. These providers may include psychologists, physical therapists, and complementary and alternative therapists such as acupuncturists or massage therapists. Together, they will put together a pain management plan for you.

At a pain clinic, your therapy plan will be tailored to your specific needs, circumstances, and preferences.

So as you can see, while many people like the personal touch of their local MD, the Pain Clinic offers many things that an individual physician simply cannot. Having access to all of these services in one place; where the focus is not only on the Chronic Pain but also on the patient themselves; and having the ability to see many different types of physicians who can coordinate your care into one treatment plan all under the same roof has many, many advantages not only for the patient and their families but also for the insurance companies. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BE A SMARTER PATIENT?
THESE ARE QUESTIONS WE ALL NEED THE ANSWERS TO!
Tips for How to Be a Smart Patient

YOUR NEXT DOCTOR’S VISIT, MAKE THE MOST OF IT
By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) — A visit to the doctor’s office sometimes seems like it’s over in a flash, and by the time you get to your car you’ve thought of six things you forgot to ask. But if you follow some simple suggestions before your next visit, you’ll become a more educated health-care consumer — and quite possibly improve your medical care and your relationship with your doctor. For starters, “make a list of what you want to discuss,” said Dr. Jim King, a family physician in Selmer, Tenn., and a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians’ board of directors. Also, be clear on the purpose of the appointment — for instance, is it to check on your recovery from a sprained ankle, or is it to review treatments for high blood pressure. 

Dr. Virgilio Licona, a family physician in Brighton, Colo., and also a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians’ board of directors, suggests you jot down any symptoms you might be experiencing. “Write down any questions you have, no matter how silly they may sound to you,” he said. Before the appointment, be sure to check if you need to fast for certain lab tests, King said, or whether you need to skip regular medication. He said he’s had patients skip medications before a visit, thinking that was what they were supposed to do, only to learn he wanted to check the patient’s blood level of a medication to see if it was working properly. Also, bring along any medicines you may be taking — and be sure they’re in their original bottles. “You can go over them with your doctor,” Licona said, to be certain you’re taking the proper dose at the right time. This is also a good time to tell your doctor what herbs or other supplements you might be taking, as well as over-the-counter medications. During the visit, King suggests that you “write down what your doctor says about your problem or condition. Ask for handouts on the condition,” he said, adding they are readily available in most offices.

Another suggestion: Take along a spouse, a family member or a friend to help you understand what the doctor has to say, especially if you’re newly diagnosed with a condition. The family member or friend may think of questions that don’t occur to you. But if you are alone, and have trouble remembering things, you might ask the doctor if you can tape-record the conversation. Also, turn off your cell phone. “When you are in the middle of an exam, having that go off can be counterproductive,” said Licona. “Turning it off is not only a courtesy but makes sure you maximize your time with your doctor.” Ask when the next visit should be, and, if you have lab work ordered, when you need to have it done. And be sure to follow up with the doctor if you need to. It’s always OK to call back your doctor if you don’t understand the instructions, or if new questions pop up. If you’ve had tests done, such as lab blood work, don’t assume “no news is good news” unless your doctor has told you that. Be sure to call for results if you don’t receive them after the visit.

SOURCES: Virgilio Licona, M.D., family physician, Brighton, Colo., and board of directors, American Academy of Family Physicians; Jim King, M.D., family physician, Selmer, Tenn., and board of directors, American Academy of Family Physicians

 

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