Pain Clinics – What Are They & What Do They Do?

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.

(How is a CRPS Patient Diagnosed? )

By Keith Orsini,
American RSDHope
April – 2013