How to Get a Referral for a Pain Management Doctor

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Many pain management centers require a referral from a physician before accepting you as a patient. Before you can receive a referral for a pain management doctor, there are a few simple steps you should be aware of. Living with pain isn't easy, and while general practitioners can offer a variety of methods for dealing with chronic pain, in many cases a doctor who specializes in pain management is able to outline the best course of treatment to effectively treat your pain.

  • Before seeking a referral to a pain management doctor, explore other options. Over the counter pain medications and prescription pain medications can both be very effective in managing pain. Your primary care doctor will be able to prescribe pain medication. Other effective treatments for managing pain include massage therapy, exercise, hypnosis, heat and cold packs, relaxation techniques, meditation, and acupuncture. Try some of these techniques, or a combination of them, before getting a referral for a pain management doctor.

  • If the treatment methods you've tried don't help your pain, make an appointment with your primary care physician. Many pain management centers won't accept you as a patient if you don't have a primary care physician.

  • Discuss your pain issues with your physician during your appointment. Outline the various methods and treatment options you've tried that your physician may not be aware of. Also, articulate the severity of the pain and how it effects your overall functioning.

  • Ask your physician about the possibility of seeing a pain management doctor. Your physician may know of other treatment options that could help alleviate your pain without seeing a specialist. If your physician has no other alternative treatment options, she should offer to refer you to a pain management doctor. If she doesn't, it is acceptable to ask for a referral.

  • Once your physician has agreed to give you a referral to a pain management doctor, ask her to send a letter to the pain management clinic that briefly explains your situation and treatment options you have tried.

  • Check with your insurance provider to be sure the pain management doctor your physician is referring you to is covered by your health insurance. If not, ask your physician if there are any other pain management doctors in your area she could refer you to.

  • Fill out all necessary forms before visiting the pain management doctor. These forms can usually be found on the pain management center's website, or they will be provided to you when you are contacted by the center to set up an appointment. These forms often include patient referral forms that need to be filled out by your primary care physician.

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