What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?

Acute pain is when the tissue is injured or damaged and this causes the perception of pain. When the injured tissue heals, the pain should resolve. Some examples of acute pain are strains and sprains, broken bones, stretched nerves, cuts and burns. Acute pain can last anywhere from 1 or 2 days to a few months. Acute pain is usually relatively easy to treat as it may respond to over the counter medicines, ice or heat and prescription medicines, sometimes narcotics are used but only for a short time.

Chronic pain is generally thought of as pain lasting longer than 3- 6 months, and may be present even after an acute injury has healed. It can be much more difficult to treat. It can occur after an acute injury or accident or can start suddenly/inexplicably without a specific cause. Many studies have shown that chronic pain can be affected by or aggravated by environmental and psychological factors.

Can you make “all” my pain go away?

This is usually an unrealistic expectation, although we have resolved many of our patients pain issues, we can’t make any guarantees. Although we would like to say “yes”, it is all too common for patients to be seen after they have had their chronic pain conditions for many months to years making it even more difficult to treat. Also, if surgery was ever performed, the anatomy is changed forever and pain relief may be much harder to obtain. Sometimes, however, if treated earlier rather than later, the chances are better that we will have better success at treating your pain. Unfortunately, most patients and even other healthcare providers believe that all we can do is give narcotics. This may occur for many reasons, not the least of which is that both doctors and patients may not be aware of what an interventional pain medicine practice does. We spend a great deal of effort and time in attempting to teach other clinics and health care providers what options are available. The best answer to the question is to say this; our goal is to reduce your chronic pain and suffering thus improving your functioning and physical capabilities.

When should a person be referred to a pain medicine specialist?

Seek out a Interventional pain medicine specialist when pain does not respond to the usual and customary treatments within a reasonable period of time. Discuss with your primary care provider or other physician that you are currently seeing and ask for a referral to our clinic. All too often, people see pain management specialists as a last resort for pain, instead of a first stop on the road to recovery and ultimate wellness. Be aware of your body and take note when you are in pain. If that pain persists and is not responding to your current treatment plan let your provider know you would like to be referred to our interventional pain medicine clinic.

What Insurances do you accept?

At Vertex Spine and Pain we accept most insurance plans, including government-sponsored plans and private commercial insurances. Our complete list of accepted insurances changes frequently, so be sure to call us or your insurer to verify current insurance status.

Vertex Spine and Pain accepts most plans from the following payers:

Most Medicaid plans
Blue Cross Blue Shield
First Health / Coventry
Golden Rule
Multiplan / Private Healthcare Systems (PHCS)
Tri-care (We do not take Tri-care for Life if it is Primary)
United Healthcare
TN Care Ameri-Choice (We do not take TN Care-Ameri-group, or Windsor)
Most Workers comp.

Additionally, we may accept self-pay on a case-by-case basis. However, due to Tennessee state law regulating pain clinics we cannot accept cash for your office visit, you can pay with check, credit or debit card. If your insurance company is not listed above, please call our front desk staff at (615) 550-8500 for more information. Our office staff will work with you or have our billing department talk to you to explain your insurance benefits to you.

What kind of treatment do you offer?

Our office can treat almost any kind of pain; however, our specialty is focusing on advanced interventional pain procedures. (See procedure list) Prior to being seen you will have to complete extensive paperwork and then undergo an examination and possibly imaging studies. We will recommend the best treatment option that will best treat your condition. As for the different procedures we offer, please review our list of traditional as well as cutting edge procedures available to our patients.

What do I need to bring and what happens at the first appointment?

At your first visit, you will meet with a pain management nurse who will review your pain problem and medical history and medications. A pain management physician/provider will then perform a history and physical examination and then review any test or results. If you have had any imaging studies MRI, CT scan, x-rays. Please bring the actual CD disc in for review and the paper report. The physician/provider will then offer a treatment plan based on his assessment. Please arrive 30 minutes early to ensure that you have adequate time to complete our New Patient Intake paperwork. If you prefer, you can download, print and complete this paperwork prior to your visit, using this link: Click here to download our New Patient Intake Paperwork. If you bring your completed paperwork with you, please arrive fifteen minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.

What should I do to prepare for my procedure?

On the day of your procedure, you should not have anything to eat or drink for at least eight (6-8) hours before your scheduled procedure. If you are scheduled to receive sedation during the procedure, you must have someone available to drive you home. If you usually take medication for high blood pressure or any kind of heart condition, it is very important that you take this medication at the usual time with a sip of water before your procedure. If you smoke, please refrain from smoking before your procedure.

Should I stop my Blood thinners on my own?

No, if you are taking any type of medication that can thin the blood and cause excessive bleeding, you should discuss with your doctors whether to discontinue this medication prior to the procedure. These anticoagulant medicines are usually prescribed to protect a patient against stroke, heart attack, or other vascular occlusion event. Therefore the decision to discontinue one of these medications is not made by the pain management physician but rather by the primary care or specialty physician (cardiologist) who prescribes and manages that medication. Examples of medications that could promote surgical bleeding include Coumadin, Plavix, or Aggrenox.

How long will my procedure take?

Most procedures take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Some of our more advanced interventional procedures may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Each patient procedure, along with risks, benefits and alternatives, is discussed prior to the procedure.

Why do I need a ride home?

In general, to relieve pain, many of these procedures can sometimes cause associated numbness, weakness, and sometimes temporary loss of feeling or sense of what position your extremities are in, which can make the ability to operate an automobile unsafe and difficult. It is our policy that every patient who has an invasive procedure must have a ride home.

How early do I need to arrive for my appointment?

If you are being seen by one of our providers for the first time, please arrive 30 minutes early to ensure that you have adequate time to complete our New Patient Intake paperwork. If you prefer, you can download, print and complete this paperwork prior to your visit, using this link: Click here to download our New Patient Intake Paperwork. If you bring your completed paperwork with you, please arrive fifteen minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.

For clinic appointments, patients are requested to arrive fifteen minutes before their scheduled appointment time to complete their follow up paperwork.

For procedures at our Vertex Spine Clinic, patients need to arrive at least 15 minutes before their scheduled procedure time.

For procedures at Cool Springs Surgery Center, patients need to arrive 1 hour before their scheduled procedure time.

For procedures at Williamson Medical Center, patients need to arrive 2 hours before their scheduled procedure time

It takes time to prepare for your procedure including check-in, obtaining vital signs, changing, blood work if needed, IV’s. We try to make sure we have enough time to give you great care and for you not to feel rushed.

Please note that when procedures are done at other facilities other than Vertex spine we have no control over their surgery schedules.