April 15, 2015

Tips for Pain Doctor Appointments

Prepare for the pain doctor and know what to expect so you can get the most out of your appointment (includes Doctor Appointment Checklist)...


Speed Up the Paperwork

Save time by filling out the new patient paperwork before arriving. Many doctor offices now have these forms available online. If not, ask them to send you the forms by email, mail, or fax. Provide a pre-made list of medications, allergies, and surgeries. Then just write on forms “see list provided”. Make the list easy to edit and print for follow-up visits.

Follow the Rules

Be careful to follow any agreement stating that doctors outside of that office cannot prescribe you pain medication. This is for your safety, and routine drug testing ensures this policy is followed. Otherwise, you may not be allowed to return.

Arrive Early

Plan to come 15 minutes before your appointment time. This helps everyone stay on schedule. The office uses this time to copy your insurance card and ID, take payment, and complete additional paperwork. Be prepared to fill out a survey about your pain and how it affects your function.

Be Wary of Late Fees

Expect your appointment to be rescheduled and a late fee charged if arriving more than 15 minutes late or without a valid form of payment. Likewise, expect a late fee if you cancel or reschedule without 24 hours notice. Some offices require longer notices or high fees, especially for a procedure or surgery.

Have an Agenda

Write down your questions so you don’t forget to ask them. Prioritize and summarize concerns since time with the doctor is limited. Remember to bring items from the Doctor Appointment Checklist below so you and your doctor are prepared to discuss pain treatment options...

Doctor Appointment Checklist

  • Previous Medical Records (sign medical release allowing records to be faxed  include past treatments tried and their outcomes)
  • Medical Test CD Images (ex. X-rays within last 6 months)
  • Medical Test Reports (make copies for your files)
  • Pharmacy Information (for new prescriptions)
  • New Patient Paperwork (fill out before arriving)
  • Medication List (prescription and over-the-counter medications or supplements  include name, strength, dosage, reason)
  • Allergy List (medications causing breathing difficulty or severe side effects you would not risk again  list name and reaction)
  • Surgery List (include facility, date, procedure, reason)
  • Agenda (prioritize and summarize concerns or questions)
  • Notebook and Pen (to write important notes from the doctor)
  • Forms Requiring Doctor Signature (ex. Handicap Parking)
  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Photo ID (ex. driver’s license)
  • Payment (check accepted forms or bring backup)
  • Personal Items (plan for at least one hour at doctor office  bring medical devices, water to drink, something to read while waiting)
  • Doctor Contact Information (address, directions, phone number  call if lost or running late!)

Best wishes for your pain doctor appointment, whether you are seeing a Pain Management Specialist or another doctor who treats pain, I hope they can help you find pain relief! (Hint: You can use many of these tips for other types of doctor appointments too.)

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