FAQ

What is a pain specialist?


A specially trained doctor that diagnoses and treats acute or chronic pain symptoms associated with injury, disease or disorders.


What is the difference between interventional and non-interventional pain management?


Interventional pain specialists utilize a variety of advanced medical procedures approved specifically by the American Medical Association. These pain relieving techniques can include advanced injections, minor surgery, or electrical stimulation. Pain medications are also commonly prescribed as part of a treatment plan.


What special training does a pain management specialist have?


Pain management doctors acquire their skills in a special pain fellowship program usually towards the end of their residency training. Upon completing the program, physicians will receive certification from the American Board of Anesthesiology that recognizes their unique skills.


How do I schedule an appointment?


Patients interested in scheduling a medical consultation should contact our South Bend or Marion office and provide us with their current insurance information, medical history, any current medications, and any MRI or x-ray reports.


What is the office cancellation policy?


If a patient is unable to keep a scheduled appointment, we expect advanced notice of at least 24 hours. If a patient regularly misses appointments without providing sufficient notification, we reserve the right to dismiss the patient at our discretion. 


Do the procedures hurt?


There is some discomfort associated with many of the available pain treatments. The physician reduces this discomfort by utilizing a topical cooling agent or a superficial injection. Valium is also an option for patients, which helps to minimize patient apprehension and pain. After the injection site is numbed and the primary injection is inserted, most people commonly feel pressure sensations. 


Can the injections paralyze me?


As with other medical procedures, there are risks associated with pain treatments. However, the use of a fluoroscopy machine, which is an advanced live imaging device, helps to ensure that there is accurate needle placement. Medical technology, coupled with expertise and experience, has made the chances of paralysis highly improbable.


What medications do the injections contain?


Injections can include anesthetic agents, anti-inflammatory steroid medications, or usually a combination of these two types of medications.


How will the injection help me?


The effects from pain relieving agents in an injection are often felt immediately. For a minority of patients, the pain relieving effects will consistently wane over time. These cases usually necessitate further injections and general pain management treatment. Anti-inflammatory steroids are designed to help rebuild damaged areas of the body responsible for pain, a process that can sometimes take weeks or months. Pain specialists often combine these two medications in an injection to expedite recovery and maximize pain-relief.


How soon will I get relief?


How soon patients experience relief largely depends on their underlying reasons for pain, the accuracy of their current diagnoses, their adherence to physician counsel, and the treatment plan the physician believes is most effective. While certain procedures are performed for diagnostic purposes, having little or no pain relieving effects, most treatments are designed to alleviate pain immediately. However, since most pain conditions are often multifaceted and complex, the majority of patients will require multiple pain treatments for optimal relief.


Can I take my regular medications before treatment?


Since over-the-counter and prescription drugs have the potential to adversely interact with medications and injections, it is imperative that patients inform the physician of all their current medications. The clinician will review these medications, and may choose to modify the treatment plan to avoid pharmacological interactions. To avoid a miscommunication, all new patients are required to complete a form that discloses the medications they are currently taking.


Can I eat or drink before an injection?


Injections performed in the pain clinic require patients to refrain from eating an hour prior to the procedure. If you choose Valium as a sedative prior to treatment, you should avoid eating heavy foods three hours before an injection, due to the possibility of stomach upset. Clear liquids are acceptable until the time of treatment.


How much can I eat or drink before an injection?


Patients are advised to minimize eating and drinking as much as possible prior to a scheduled injection. These precautions will help avoid complications in the event of nausea before, during, or after a pain treatment session. If patients are required to eat due to an unrelated medical condition, only a small amount of lite foods should be ingested. (Saltines, toast, etc…)


Where will I be injected?


The clinician will consult with you about the procedure he intends to do and the areas of the body that will be treated. Injection sites are primarily located in the back region, with some conditions necessitating direct treatment in the neck, rib, and upper chest areas. Please visit our treatments section for a detailed description of the types of procedures the doctor performs.


Can I have an injection while feeling ill?


The pain doctor will make this determination based on the type and severity of a patient’s illness. If a patient has a contagious flu-like virus with symptoms, the appointment will need to be rescheduled. It is important for patients to disclose how they are feeling to office staff, and to ask the doctor for guidance in times of uncertainty.


How often can I have pain injections?


The number of times an individual receives injections is largely based upon a patient’s current medical condition, medical plan and response to their current treatment.


What happens if the pain gets worse?


If the pain worsens following a procedure, the doctor may consider an alternative pain treatment approach. Additional diagnostic procedures might also be performed to ensure that the underlying pain causes are clearly understood. Patient are sometimes sent to other physician specialists for further diagnostic purposes.


What effects will Valium have on me?


Similar to most other benzodiazepines, common side effects associated with Valium include drowsiness, stomach upset, shakiness, emotional changes, forgetfulness, and instances of limited coordination. If patients choose to use Valium prior to a procedure, they are required to have a friend or relative provide transportation to and from the pain clinic. It is strongly advised that individuals who are administered Valium for the first time refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery for 24 hours.​​