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My first visit to a pain clinic

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  • My first visit to a pain clinic

    I had my first visit with a pain clinic on Wednesday. I was not expecting to be impressed. I have been passed around this group of doctors since December now and none of them really seem to know the difference between an acute spinal cord injury and a chronic injury. I was amazingly surprised. I have never been to a pain clinic before. I have never been to a doctor who wasn't pushing anti-depressants at me either.

    My first visit consisted of talking to a care coordinator for two hours about three weeks ago. I can't even remember most of that conversation. Wednesday's visit involved talking to a 4th year resident along with the pharmacist who re-arranaged some of the meds I was already taking and added a couple of drugs none of which are anti-depressants. I can email this Care coordinator at anytime and I am expected to.I have never had that kind of patient/provider relationship.

    I am set up to have an MRi on Friday because it has been 9 years since I have had any scans and I am also referred to a physiatrist who specializes in chronic aging spinal cord injuries as well as a counselor who specializes in people with chronic pain who can in the doctors words "connect me to the applicable community resources that I need". That will also include appointments with an orthotist and a urologist.

    I had so much anxiety and worry over this appointment. I had to sign a contract that I would only see that practice and they would prescribe my meds and I would use only one pharmacy. They drug test every time I go. I really don't mind this now that I have met the Pharm D running the program and know that his goals and my goals are the same.

    I think for me him just saying "I get it" meant alot. I did not have to explain in detail what being on fire meant and he did not ask me to describe it.

    The night before my appointment I had not slept at all. We had storms and my legs were on fire all night long. So I was tearful and very truthful with him as to how the pain has effected my quality of life. I am not usually that open even with my doctors and maybe that is part of my problem....
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  • #2
    I'm impressed and currently in search of this type clinic. So far my experiences of getting the urine test, blood pressure, weigh me and ask questions. I had all my CAT, MRI, and X-rays with me, he didn't look at them. Lot's more, but anyway, I am happy for you, I hope this turns out to be your tiny sanctuary.

    Is it named a pain management clinic, or are they calling themselves something else? I would love to find what you have.


    • #3
      That sounds great Tonja ... your post even sounds relieved!

      We will not be 'felled' in '2012!' (I know - I've been trying to think of something inspirational that will rhyme with 12 .. lol).
      Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

      T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12


      • #4
        That's a pretty amazing pain clinic! Hope it keeps surprising and impressing you - it did me just from reading your post!
        Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
        - Albert Einstein


        • #5
          Sounds similar to mine T. I hope they continue the good treatment. It sounds like you found a good one. My pain clinic was the first place I did'nt have to explain in detail what I meant about burning etc. They knew what I was talking about, and even knew about burning more when the weather got bad.


          • #6
            D D - can you share what meds they finally put you on to get things started? Do they have or recommend any biofeedback services?


            • #7
              That sounds great. It is so important to have people who "get it." It is also such a relief when you are able to find someone who does. I hope this is just the start of a productive relationship that lessens your pain levels.


              • #8
                It sounds great. Can you share the name and location of the clinic?
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                • #9
                  Its inside the Internal Medicine Clinic on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill



                  I had not looked him up until today. I was referred by my physician in the Internal Med Clinic.

                  Arndog he upped my Topamax to three times a day and the Ultram ER 200 mg to 100mg twice a day. He also put me on Buspar for anxiety not an anti-depressant. I take 5mg Oxy for break through but that will lessen when I get my braces adjusted. I won't settle for anything less than townsends and I had to send the last ones back. So I am just waiting on a referral. Yes he did mention biofeedback and some other things. I don't want to be on medicine forever. I am hopeful the other person I am scheduled with will offer more as in teaching me how to relax and mind body skills. I think this kind of thing below will be an option as it is listed on their patient website. I know they have a faculty version for their students/

                  Last edited by darkeyed_daisy; 02-25-2012, 05:15 PM. Reason: add info about my braces
                  T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

                  My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown


                  • #10
                    I'm really glad that you found a pain clinic where they not only listen, but get it! What a relief it will be, not having to reinvent the wheel at every appointment.
                    MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions


                    • #11
                      I will add that I have a referral to see this doctor as she works with Chronic Spinal Cord Injuries:


                      Dr Cassazza who is listed above her on this page is who I saw earlier this week and who has ordered my MRI on Friday. I will see him on Monday for the results of that.

                      They both are a part of the Physical Medicine program and I believe my primary referred me to to best of his just sometimes gets tedious being a "passed around patient".

                      To make things even more confusing they have their own pain management and pain psychologist also....

                      UNC-Chapel Hill is a huge Health system as I am finding out.
                      T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

                      My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown


                      • #12
                        This is the way it should be done.

                        Thank you for sharing it.


                        • #13
                          Good for you Tonja! And it's good to see lynnifer so feisty again, haha I won't go to hell in the year 2012!
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                          • #14
                            I'm so happy for you! Having a Dr who 'gets it' makes all the difference. I just saw a new geneticist yesterday, and he said he was very happily surprised to see how well I am doing emotionally. Most of the patients he sees with my disorder are at the end of their rope pain wise. I told him he should have seen me 9 months ago! He said he will mention me to help give others with my disorder hope. I said go for it! Tell them I said having a great pain Dr and treatment team makes ALL the difference!! And, they ARE out there. Its taken me years but right now I am finally happy with ALL of my Drs and working towards getting where I want to be in my life.
                            Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

                            I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.


                            • #15
                              Great news that it was a good experience. Sometimes it is hard to know what to expect.