Your First Visit to a Maryland Pain Clinic

In recent years, it has become more common for people suffering from chronic pain to be referred by their family doctors or internists (primary care physicians) to a pain specialist. Patients who have never been exposed to this type of treatment before often express concerns about what they should expect at their first visit with a pain physician. To help alleviate any pre-visit anxiety read on to learn what to expect at your first visit to a pain clinic.


You’ll notice upon check-in that there isn’t really anything different than what would occur at any other doctor’s office when you are a new patient. You will check in and complete necessary paperwork while waiting for the doctor to meet you. Then you will be called into the examination room.

Patient History, Symptoms, and Goals for Treatment

At your initial appointment, the doctor will begin by asking that you explain why you are there and what your expectations are. Next, he/she will ask some questions about yourself including general health issues such as allergies, past operations, past and medications taken previously or currently.

The doctor will review your list of medications and ask about how long you have been taking each of them. He/she may even ask to see the containers that these pills come in. Be sure to mention any over-the-counter (OTC) medications or dietary supplements that you take regularly as well as prescription medications.

Physical Examination

Following your initial discussion, the doctor will do a physical examination including listening for bowel sounds and checking your blood pressure and pulse (heart rate). If necessary, additional testing such as an MRI, CT scan, ultrasound tests or X-rays may be ordered. When all test results are received, he/she will review them with you and explain what they mean in relation to your pain issues. At this point, some doctors may perform trigger point injections. This involves injecting a numbing medication into specific trigger points.

What Can I Expect at Follow-Up Visits?

Following your initial visit, the doctor will have documented in your chart what you discussed at that time. Each subsequent visit there may be changes to your treatment plan based on how well you are responding to treatment thus far. The doctor will want to know if any side effects are experienced from medications or procedures performed.

Some examples of common questions are listed below:

  • How are you sleeping?
  • Have you noticed any side effects from medications?
  • Are you having any problems with constipation? Diarrhea? Nausea/vomiting? Dizziness/lightheadedness? Headaches? Any other side effects?
  • Are you having an adequate appetite?
  • Is your pain level a 5 or above on a scale of 1 to 10? If it is, have you tried taking more medications to control the pain?
  • Is your use of non-prescription drugs such as OTC medications, dietary supplements and/or alcohol increasing, decreasing, or staying about the same?
  • Has anyone in your family died from a drug overdose or suicide due to chronic pain?
  • Do you have children living with you who are being neglected because of their parents’ focus on pain management issues?

What Kinds of Treatments Are Discussed at Follow-Up Visits?

By now, the doctor will have a pretty good idea about what works well to relieve your pain and what doesn’t work. Different types of pain management therapies may be discussed such as physical therapy, massage therapy, psychological support or counseling (i.e., cognitive behavioral therapy, stress reduction techniques, biofeedback).

The doctor may also want to consider alternative treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic care, nutritional supplements, dietary changes, and others. Some doctors may even recommend classes that teach people how to manage their own pain better through the practice of relaxation techniques.

Things to Know

Always feel free to ask your doctor any questions you have about your treatment plan including medications prescribed. If you are concerned about anything at all, don’t be afraid to speak up. You should always feel comfortable asking your doctor any questions you may have. If something isn’t working as well as it used to, be sure to discuss it with your doctor so he/she can adjust your treatment plan accordingly.

At Greater Maryland Pain Management, we are dedicated to helping resolve your pain. Our pain management process is designed to minimize your chronic pain and improve your quality of life with non-surgical, non-invasive solutions. Contact us today to get the tools for a healthier, happier life.