How do I Choose Between the Pain Doctors Near Me?

person getting foot massaged

Ideally, you would never need to find a pain doctor near you. Life should be a pain-free experience, allowing you to focus on what makes you happy and feel fulfilled. But unfortunately, that isn’t the case for many individuals. According to the NIH’s Pain Management fact sheet, a quarter of Americans have experienced a long-term pain episode, and chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability. In fact, pain is the most common reason US citizens access the health care system.

Since many pain-related costs are related to surgery, and many side effects are caused by chronic opiate use, more individuals are looking to pain management specialists in their area than ever before.

But before you search for “pain doctors near me”, Premier Pain Centers have compiled a list of suggestions for you to consider when choosing pain management.

Health Insurance and Your Primary Care Physician are Strong Resources

In today’s current health care climate, your health insurance will majorly impact what specialist you see. Log on to your insurance’s website and conduct a search of their pain specialists within your network (if they have such a list). This will immediately narrow your options and make a decision a little simpler. But health insurances require a referral, and that’s where your primary care physician comes in.

Physicians are regularly providing referrals to patients to see specialists, and they know their recommendations are in part a reflection upon them. Depending on what condition you may have or be suspected of having, a physician will choose a pain doctor near you that is most appropriate for your medical situation.

Ask a Friend or Do Your Own Research

The opinion of your doctor and the recommendations of your health insurance are very valuable, but most people find greater value in the first-hand experiences of friends and family. Chances are at least one person you know has seen a pain doctor in the past, and they’ll be able to provide a recommendation. They’ll also be able to provide details about their experience, helping you to prepare for your appointment.

Keep in mind that while your health insurance has their approved group of doctors, you still have the choice to work with someone outside your network. If you are dealing with a complex pain issue, your own research may reveal someone whose specialty makes them more desirable. For instance, Premier Pain’s Dr. Sean Li and Dr. John Mak specialize in part in treating cancer pain. For cancer patients, they would be preferable options than someone who specializes in osteoarthritis joint pain.

Consider the Doctor’s Location and Availability

Since pain conditions can be debilitating, travelling a significant distance is unappealing if you’re going to be making regular visits. Consider your transportation options – do you need someone else to drive you? Are you relying on public transit? Are you able to drive without pain?

Once your treatment plan has been initiated, transportation issues should become less of a concern. But that plan’s hard to follow if your doctor is too busy to see you. When committing to a doctor and their treatment plan, get an idea of what their schedule and the clinic’s schedule are going to be in terms of availability. How does their schedule mesh with yours? If it looks like there’s going to be conflict often, you may want to look elsewhere.

Don’t Be Afraid to Have More than One Consult

There are a wide variety of pain conditions that Americans suffer from. They range from facet arthritis and degenerative disc disease, to trigeminal neuralgia and occipital neuralgia. Considering how complex pain conditions can be, getting an accurate diagnosis is the foundation of your pain relief. At your initial appointment, your doctor will run you through a series of tests to diagnose your pain condition. From there they will lay out one or more recommended treatment plans.

Before leaving your appointment, make sure to ask the following:

How Confident are You in the Diagnosis? Are Other Conditions Possible?

When dealing with body parts that are especially intricate – such as the spine or nerve clusters – similar symptoms can be caused by many different conditions. It is up to your doctor to run through the correct tests to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes, a diagnosis may require more than one set of tests and more than one appointment, but no matter how long it takes your doctor should be able to explain what you have going on.

What are the Side Effects of this Treatment?

Premier Pain Centers’ physicians always opt for the most effective treatments for your pain condition while being as minimally invasive as possible. But side effects are always a possibility, so it is important to be informed and prepared for any treatment you agree to.

What is the Cost of Treatment?

Despite the efficacy of many pain management alternatives that pain clinics utilize, it is not always a given that your health insurance will cover the cost. And again, like any other doctor, certain insurances may not be accepted. If this is the case, discuss with your pain management clinic whether there are any third-party payment options or in-house financing.

At the end of the day, you have control over what happens to your body. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with anything discussed with your pain management physician, there is nothing wrong about consulting with another doctor. Living pain-free is the goal, but how you get there is up to you.

Find the Best Pain Doctors in NJ at Premier Pain Centers

Premier Pain Centers has six location conveniently located throughout New Jersey. Our team of physicians make it their mission to find the best treatment for each patient on a personal level, to ensure that your quality of life is dictated by what you do, not what pain prevents you to do. If you are suffering from a chronic pain condition and need relief, contact Premier Pain Centers today or call (732) 380-0200.