Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know before my appointment? »
Why would I need psychological support services? »
Can I have a procedure on the same day as my evaluation? »
Will I be prescribed medication on my first visit? »
What are my responsibilities? »

What do I need to know before my appointment?

In order for us to provide you with the best care possible, please come prepared with the following items:

–       Photo ID
–       Insurance information and card
–       Imaging studies or other medical records that you think may be helpful.

If you are a new patient and have your new patient paperwork completed, please arrive on time.  If you do not have your paperwork completed please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment time to allow enough time to fill out the paperwork.  You will also need to bring your imaging studies (MRI,CT,XR) if they have not been sent with your records. This should be verified prior to your appointment, as part of your evaluation includes reviewing these studies. If these studies are not available for your appointment, you may need to reschedule.

If you are a returning patient please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time.

Why would I need psychological support services?

The emotional strain of dealing with chronic pain can leave even the most optimistic patients depressed. Inactivity can decrease social and family interaction.  Chronic pain can also interrupt sleep, leaving one tired and irritable.  Add this to lethargy and constant pain and it is no surprise that depression and despair are a common side effect for chronic pain patients and their families.  We work with counselors and psychologists who can help patients and their families to learn coping skills to deal with these symptoms, as well as with intractable pain and the physical limitation it imposes.  They may offer many different options that will assist in your recovery.

Can I have a procedure on the same day as my evaluation?

Unfortunately, there specific procedure days and times coordinated with the surgery center where the procedures are done. We do have reserved times for new patients and procedures typically can be done within that same week of your appointment. The pain clinic staff will work as quickly and efficiently as possible so that you can have your procedures in a timely manner. You can help this process by making sure that your insurance information is updated.

Will I be prescribed medication on my first visit?

Your first visit involves a comprehensive examination and thorough review of medical history, imaging studies and other medical records. Decisions regarding medication changes and starting new medications are up to the physician. Narcotic medications are never prescribed on the first visit. As a pain clinic we are doing our part to be in compliance with the current guidelines for narcotic (opiate) medications, thus patients who are recommended as candidates for narcotic medication must go through certain steps prior to receiving prescriptions. Patient safety is our primary concern. Once all the steps are completed and the patient meets the required standards we can begin appropriately prescribing based on our physician’s recommendations. Narcotic medications are not prescribed as the sole treatment of pain. It is important that you are an active participant in your treatment plan which will include recommendations other than medications that will target the source of your pain. Many patients may have been previously prescribed narcotic medications before given the opportunity to identify the source of their pain and a solution to alleviate the pain with a more direct approach. Dr. Monreal has specialized training to help you find the source of the pain and offer you a solution.

What are my responsibilities?

  • The care a patient receives at Salem Pain & Spine Specialists depends partially on you, the patient the patient. Therefore, in addition to the Bill of Rights, a patient has certain responsibilities as well. These responsibilities are presented to the patient in the spirit of mutual trust and respect.
  • The patient must provide accurate and complete information concerning his/her present complaints, past medical history, and other matters about his/her health.
  • The patient is responsible for making it known whether he/she clearly comprehends the course of his/her medical treatment and what is expected of him/her.
  • The patient is responsible for following the treatment plan established by his/her physician, including the instructions of nurses and other health professionals as they carry out the physicians orders.
  • The patient is responsible for keeping appointments and for notifying the facility or physician when he/she is unable to do so.
  • The patient is responsible for his/her actions should he/she refuse treatment or not follow his/her physician’s orders
  • The patient is responsible for assuring that the financial obligations of his/her care are fulfilled as promptly as possible.
  • The patient is responsible for following facility policies and procedures.
  • The patient is responsible for being considerate of the rights of other patients and facility personnel.
  • The patient is responsible for being respectful of his/her personal property and that of other persons in the facility.
  • The patient is responsible to report complaint(s) or grievance(s).