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What to Expect From a Pain Management Doctor in New York

pain treatment

When you make an appointment with a pain management specialist, it is common to wonder how it will work. Your experience will vary slightly based on the pain management physician you see, but there are a few things that you can always expect.

What to Expect From a Pain Management Doctor

When you look at a pain management clinic in New York, what to expect will typically include a range of professionals. Pain management teams frequently go beyond just doctors and nurses. They also may have:

  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Physical therapists
  • Vocational therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Dietitians and nutritionists
  • Acupuncturists
  • Massage therapists
  • Chiropractors

When you visit a pain management doctor or clinic, you can expect them to work with you to reduce your pain. This will typically include medical treatments and possibly lifestyle changes as well.

Expect your treatment to vary based on your health and needs. Treatment can include:

  • Prescription or over-the-counter medicines
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Neuromodulation
  • Physical therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Massage
  • Hot or cold packs
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Acupuncture
  • Community support groups
  • Occupational therapy
  • A weight loss routine
  • Dietary changes
  • Surgery

The pain medicine that your doctor prescribes may not be what you expect. Pain medicines can include paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, local anesthetics, and aspirins. In severe cases, they may prescribe opioids, but this is only if other options don’t work. Some anti-epileptic medicines and antidepressants can also relieve pain.

Expect to Start With Non-Invasive Treatments

As with most doctors, your pain management specialist will start by suggesting non-invasive treatments. Common starting points include physical therapy and prescriptions. If the initial suggestions do not work, they may recommend minimally invasive treatments. If your pain still continues after exhausting other options, they may suggest surgery. Surgery is not an option to treat all types of pain.

Types of Pain Treated by a Pain Management Specialist

Your pain doctor can typically treat a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Pain from cancer
  • Pain from multiple sclerosis
  • Post-stroke pain
  • Pain from spinal cord injury
  • Neuropathy (nerve pain)

Most pain management doctors primarily treat chronic pain. That being said, they can also treat patients dealing with temporary pain.

Importantly, your doctor will adjust their treatment recommendations based on your pain and its cause.

What to Expect on Your First Visit to a Pain Doctor

When you visit a pain management clinic in New York, what to expect will be a little different from what to expect on later visits. Your pain doctor will use this as an opportunity to evaluate your pain and medical history.

Expect to answer questions about your medical history and possibly your family’s medical history. They will ask how your pain affects your life. Expect questions about:

  • What activities trigger the pain and which ones do not
  • Your pain level
  • Where you feel the pain
  • Descriptions of the pain (such as tingling, aching, or dullness)
  • How often the pain occurs
  • If you have found anything that improves the pain, and if so, what
  • Whether you have any other symptoms

If you have a pain journal, show it to your doctor at the first appointment.

Your pain management doctor will also look at your past diagnostic results. This includes CT scans, MRIs, and x-rays.

You should also expect a thorough physical exam. This exam will likely require feedback from you. Pain management physicians commonly ask whether specific movements cause pain or describe the pain during the examination.

Suggesting Treatment

After the examination and questions, your doctor will come up with a treatment plan. This will be customized to deal with your pain. Ideally, it will help you manage the pain while treating the cause of the pain. Treating the cause of the pain gives you a long-term solution, while addressing the pain is short-term.

You will likely leave the first appointment with some simple recommendations to follow. You may get a prescription for medicine to manage your pain. You may get a referral to a physical therapist. You may even get a list of gentle exercises or stretches to do in the meantime. Your doctor may also make other suggestions for at-home care, such as OTC medicines, ice, heat packs, or rest.

Before you leave your first appointment, expect to make your next appointment with the pain management specialist. If you don’t already keep a pain journal, they may ask you to do so.


You should also be ready to fill out new patient paperwork at your first visit to the pain clinic. They will ask for standard information, including your insurance card.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you were injured and suffer from pain, book your appointment today to find an experienced pain management specialist near you in New York and New Jersey. Doctors in our directory accept worker’s compensation, no-fault insurance, PIP (Personal Injury Protection), and major medical insurance plans. Same-day appointments may be available. Call 1-800-897-8440 now and get on your way to pain-free living!