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What to Expect

During your first visit, a pain management specialist will perform a thorough assessment and develop a plan for your care. This plan will be shared with your family physician as well as the healthcare team assembled to address your needs. On return visits, additional treatment will be provided and your progress will be evaluated by the physician and the healthcare team.

Throughout the treatment process, the support staff will communicate your progress to your referring and family physicians. As you near the end of your treatment plan, Cleveland Clinic practitioners will spend additional time providing you with information about how to manage your condition. Through expert care, Cleveland Clinic strives to bring a better quality of life for you and your loved ones.

Throughout the treatment process, the department will communicate your progress to your referring and family physicians. As you near the end of your treatment plan, we will spend additional time providing you with information about how to manage your condition.

During your treatment you may have different diagnostic tests performed to better understand the source of your pain. These tests may include:

  • Diagnostic nerve blocks identify the exact source of pain.
  • Thermographic imaging is used to access the integrity of peripheral circulation. Thermography senses hot and cold areas of the body and records changes in skin temperature on a type of photographic film. The test is painless and does not require placing instruments under the skin or into the body. It is completely safe and does not use radiation.
  • Discography is a radiological guided procedure to determine whether or not the pain is originating from the intervertebral discs. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans create detailed pictures of the body's internal structure by using a magnetic field and radio waves.
  • CT or CAT (computerized axial tomography) scans take a series of X-rays at different angles to show a detailed view of internal organs.
  • Psychological testing
  • Dietary and nutritional analysis

If you are scheduled for a procedure, please do not eat for six hours before your scheduled appointment time. You may have clear liquids for up to two hours before your appointment. Clear liquids include water, fruit juices without pulp, carbonated beverages, clear tea and black coffee.

Please discontinue any pain medications, if any, four hours before your appointment time. Do continue to take all other prescribed medications with a small sip of water and bring all medications with you to appointments.

If you are taking blood-thinning medications, such as Coumadin or aspirin, please tell the appointment scheduler so you can receive specific instructions.

If you have diabetes, be sure to request a morning appointment. Do not take your morning insulin, but do bring it with you. If necessary, your blood glucose level will be checked once you arrive for your appointment. You can expect the appointment to last two to three hours.

Please make arrangements for a responsible adult to drive you home after the procedure. The medication given during the procedure may cause drowsiness, making it unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery so you should not drive or operate machinery for at least eight hours after the procedure.

Home care instructions vary, depending on your personal evaluation and course of treatment. Therefore, a healthcare provider will discuss home-going instructions at the time of your examination or procedure. You also will be given a discharge instruction sheet to take home at the end of appointments. Please feel free to ask healthcare providers any questions you may have about these instructions.

Please ask your physician for a prescription refill at the time of your appointment. Be sure you have an adequate supply of medication to last until your next appointment.

Also, please note: Opioid refills (such as morphine or hydromorphone) are only given for a one-month period of time and cannot be refilled over the phone or on weekends. Patients must make an appointment to see the medication nurse or the physician to refill opioid prescriptions.

To request a non-opioid prescription refill, please contact us:
Phone: 216.445.7237
Toll-free: 800.223.2273, ext. 57237
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

To reach the department during non-business hours, please call:
Phone: 216.444.PAIN (216.444.7246)
Toll-free: 800.392.3353

Requests for opioid refills must be made to your physician's office seven days in advance and must occur Monday through Thursday, between the hours of 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. excluding holidays. There will be no existing medication refills at night, weekends or holidays.

Pain Management services are covered by most insurance plans as well as Workers Compensation, Medicaid and Medicare. Cleveland Clinic will be happy to do direct billing to any insurance carrier. However, please remember that the patient remains responsible for services/charges associated with Pain Management Department services.

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