We know that your first visit with us is important, but it can also be stressful, scary and overwhelming. The following are a few tips that will make your visit more successful.
Be on time – This might sound simple, but it can make a huge difference in how much you get out of your first visit. We ask that our patients show up 30 minutes prior to their appointment time to ensure that they can be checked in, worked up and ready to go by the time of the appointment. If you are not on time, we will not have as much time to spend with you discussing your concerns. If you are too late, we may not be able to see you at all.
Be focused – While some patients will present with a single pain problem, many patients will present with two, three or more different problems. We understand that each of these problems are very important to you, but it can be hard to fully explore each the first time we meet. Make sure we talk about your most important pain problem first and we will work from there to cover as much as we can in the time we have. This tip ties closely in with the following tip:
Be patient – By the time we meet you for the first time, it is likely that you will have seen your primary care doctor as well as one or more specialists for your pain problem(s). We wish that we could always with certainty tell our patients what is causing their pain and how it should be treated at the first visit; however, this is often not the case. It is very common for us to need some time to gather your records from other clinics and hospitals. We may also feel that further imaging or labs are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Please bear with us as we take the necessary steps to get to know you better.
Be open –Many patients will come to us having already been treated for chronic pain, at times for many years. If you have already been treated for chronic pain, it is understandable that you may have a specific idea of how your pain should be treated when we meet. We understand, but after our evaluation we may suggest a different approach to safely and effectively treat your pain. Listen to all your treatment options with an open mind and be ready to discuss the pros and cons of each so that we can decide on the best possible plan for you. Additionally, please understand that we may not feel comfortable continuing your previous pain medications if they pose a risk to your safety. We use these medications every day and are experts in using them appropriately.
Be optimistic – Don’t be afraid to feel excited about your first visit. We know that our patients deal with a significant amount of pain, and we are here because we want to do whatever we can to help you feel better!
Charles Clover, MD
Southeast Pain & Spine Care