Your Primary Care doctor has referred you to pain management…now what?

Your Primary Care doctor has referred you to pain management…now what? What can you expect? What conditions are treated in pain management? Is pain management just medication? What if I do not like to take medication?

These and perhaps many more questions are going through your head after receiving your referral to pain management. Hopefully this will answer some questions and make you more comfortable with your referral.

First off, what exactly is pain management? Pain management is a medical specialty that deals with conditions causing pain. They can be acute or chronic in nature. They can range from back pain, neck pain, leg pain (radicular pain), to joint pain including the hip, shoulder and knee. Pain management is a multifaceted discipline that looks at the causes of the pain. It is not uncommon to have an xray or MRI ordered to further evaluate your injury. The imaging will be reviewed with you during a visit and all findings will be explained to you so you have an understanding of what is causing your pain. If your condition requires a surgical consult, you will be provided with a list of surgeons to follow up with.

Many times you will be provided with an order for physical therapy, especially if you have not ever gone to physical therapy before. The providers understand the importance of stretching and moving, particularly in chronic pain conditions. You will be encouraged to participate in a home exercise program and your activity level will be reviewed at each visit.

The goal of pain management is to find ways to manage your pain and help you to return to the level of function that you previously had before you were limited by pain. An injection might be helpful and offered to you. At Novaspine we do a number of injections that can improve pain and increase function. The injections typically involve a steroid that decreased inflammation thus decreases pain. An epidural may be ordered if you have pain that radiates down your arms or legs, and a Medial Branch Block can aid in relieving neck or back pain that does not radiate to other areas. If your knees, shoulders or hips are the problem, we offer injections into the joint or the extended bursa area. We also provide knee viscosuplimentation injections (otherwise known as the WD 40 for the joints).

In addition to the injections, your provider may discuss medications with you. There are many different medications and you provide at Novaspine will work closely with you to find the medication regime that works best for you. Speaking of medication, there are times and situations where an opioid medication will be required for adequate pain relief. Novaspine complies with all of the government and state laws related to these medications. You may be asked to provide a urine sample as required by law to be tested. These medications and their use are monitored closely by the providers at Novaspine. We encourage our patients to be knowledgeable of any and all medication provided, and will fully review and medications suggested for you.

In summing up, pain management is a multifaceted discipline that deals with the complex issue of pain. At Novaspine we believe that optimum pain relief comes from utilizing a number of different pain relieving properties such as physical therapy, injections and medications. We work closely with you to achieve the highest level of pain relief possible to allow you to have the fullest life possible.

Shauna Papa, RN Shauna Papa has been working with Dr. Baker as his nurse for 3 years now. She enjoys working closely with him to develop plans of care to help people in pain. Her favorite aspect of her job is seeing her patients return to their lives after receiving relief from debilitating pain conditions. She participates yearly in Pain Week in Las Vegas where she keeps up on all of the the latest advancements in pain management. Prior to working in pain management, Shauna worked extensively in trauma and emergency medicine both in the Phoenix area, and in Denver. In her time away from the office, Shauna enjoys spending time with her husband Randy and their 3 dogs Shilo, Ozzy and Baxter. She is a football fan and in keeping with her Denver roots, is a Denver Bronco super fan.

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