Standard Pain Center Evaluation Protocol

A common procedure in many multidisciplinary pain centers is to mail a background and demographic questionnaire before the patient's first visit to either mail back prior to their visit or bring with them at their first visit. This allows for prior review of data which can save time for the clinician and can begin to frame the clinical interview. It also serves as a very valuable educational lesson for the patient, structuring their thoughts in a certain direction, such as relating pain to various factors and, most significantly, introducing the concept of the relationship between psychological factors and pain. This is an important therapeutic principle that many patients have a great deal of defensiveness about. Unless this can be overcome, psychological interventions will not succeed. The standard evaluation protocol of most pain centers is the pain questionnaire, the clinical interview, pain assessment measures, physical examination, and a psychological evaluation. Many patients perceive the careful detailed analysis of their pain and related factors as an understanding and willingness to listen to them. This gains their respect and cooperation, and is often something previous healthcare personnel may have been reluctant to do.

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