Our Approach to Patient Evaluation
We begin each patient evaluation by carefully reviewing the medical records from Cleveland Clinic providers or other institutions. For this reason, we ask that people send, or have their referring physician (if they are not a Cleveland Clinic doctor) forward the results of any previous medical tests that relate to their pain.
Based on our review of these records, an evaluation is tailored to the needs of the individual and appropriate members of the evaluation team are scheduled to meet with him or her.
The person may be seen by specialists in the following areas:
- pain management
- rehabilitation medicine
- physical therapy
- internal medicine
- other specialties as appropriate
If a treatable cause for the pain can be identified, the appropriate treatment is recommended.
For individuals with unresolved chronic pain, we may recommend outpatient therapy in our Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program. In any case, a Pain Specialist will discuss and carefully explain the treatment plan to patient and family.
Lodging is available on or near campus for out-of-town patients.
The usual length of stay is three-and-a-half weeks depending on progress and goals. Treatment in the Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program includes such services as:
- Medication management to provide nonaddicting treatments for pain, insomnia and depression.
- Physical therapy to teach proper body mechanics and improve strength, flexibility and endurance.
- Functional capacity evaluation to determine work ability and assess needs for further patient conditioning.
- Biofeedback training to teach pain control by reducing muscle tension and nervous system arousal.
- Coping-skills training to teach stress reduction, interpersonal skills, and reduce the use of illness as a way of coping.
- Education to teach the causes of pain and the behaviors that are likely to make it better or worse.
- Monitored weaning of narcotics, tranquilizers and sedatives.
- Psychotherapy to reduce depression, anxiety, anger or other emotions which increase pain.
- Vocational counseling to assist re-entry into the job market.
- Occupational therapy to improve performance of tasks at home and at work.
- Work hardening to improve strength and endurance through the simulation of various work and leisure tasks.
Chronic pain usually is rarely resolved in three-and-a-half weeks. Although individuals experience benefit from treatment, there may be a tendency to slip back into old patterns. For this reason, we strongly encourage follow-up treatment.
Our monthly, free-of-charge Aftercare Program is designed to reinforce the principles learned during initial treatment. This program includes discussions of progress and difficulties, physical therapy "brush up", practice in assertiveness and stress management, and medication management as needed.