Stop running around and get help at one location.

One-Stop Shop
Stop running around and get help at one location.
By Kevin Whipps

You’re running errands one afternoon, when a tinge of pain hints you in your lower back. No biggie, you’ll hit the chiropractor later, right? Then time goes on, and you see one of those handy chiropractors that has a space next to some taco stand, and everything is great. But that pain doesn’t get better over time, it gets worse, and soon you’re going to your general practitioner, who sends you to a different chiropractor, who sends you to a surgeon and so on. Wouldn’t it be great if there were one place you could go to get all of your pain problems fixed that didn’t require you to go see any other doctors at other locations? Well there is, and those places follow the comprehensive care system.

What Is Comprehensive Care?

That’s a good question, so let’s sort this out. You probably have multiple doctors for whatever ails you at the time. That could mean a podiatrist, general practitioner, internist, dermatologist and so on, just depending on what your particular issues happen to be. All of those specialists do their own things in their own fields, and they all deal with pain in one fashion or another. The podiatrist sees people for foot pain, dermatologist for skin pain, and so on.
But sometimes, the discomfort that you’re feeling is beyond the scope of one doctor’s level of expertise. Say that you have foot pain, for example. That could be something that a podiatrist could sort out, but they may theorize that the foot pain also extends to your back, because of a difference in your gait. Now you’ve got to see another doctor, which means filling out more forms and so on. Your doctor has nothing but your best interests in mind, but sometimes it just goes beyond what they’re able to do in-house so they have to send you elsewhere.
Let’s face it; this can be a problem. Doctors today need all sorts of things to get in the door, and whether or not they accept your insurance (assuming you’re covered) is a whole other issue. Plus it’s time away from work, your family or whatever else it is that you do on a regular basis. That’s a hassle.
Comprehensive care takes those problems and hits them head on. In the case of a pain clinic that deals with comprehensive care, you walk in with one problem: pain. It doesn’t matter where this pain is, or what part of the body that’s affected, you’re just there because you have something that’s causing you angst and you want to get rid of it.
These clinics have multiple doctors under one roof that all have different specialties. In the case of many pain clinics, that means they have chiropractors, acupuncturists, general practitioners and so on there to take care of your needs. And since it’s all under one roof — quite literally — there’s nowhere else that you have to go to get things sorted out.

Walking It Through

Alright, let’s go back to that example. You’re running errands, tinge of pain, call the doctor — except in this case, you’re heading to a pain clinic that does comprehensive care. Let’s see how it works out.
You’ll check in, handle the insurance paperwork and all that, then see a doctor or nurse practitioner. They’ll do the initial assessment, taking note to figure out where the problem is, what could have caused it and so on. From that point, there are a few different scenarios that could play out, depending on what’s determined to be the problem, or at least where it’s narrowed down. You could see and acupuncturist, who will walk you through that system, and see if that helps your issues. You could get an x-ray, which could help in the diagnosis as well. Or it could be as easy as a trip to the chiropractor, where they sort out the issue and figure out what needs to happen from there. And here’s the thing: that’s all happening in the same building.
If things are more serious, you’re still covered. Should the multiple doctors in the clinic determine that you need a procedure done — facet injections, radiofrequency ablation, etc. — then those are options as well. Comprehensive care really does mean all of it in one place. Sure, some of the procedures themselves may be done at a nearby surgery center, but that’s the only time the model differs — and frankly, other doctors would do the same thing.

Is It For Me?

That is the big question here, and it does come down to those basics. Do you think that a pain clinic that offers comprehensive care is the best choice for you? Well, do you want the hassle of schlepping yourself between multiple doctors, clinics, labs and treatment centers to find out what’s causing your pain? Or would you rather get it all done at once? Plus, there are the other advantages, such as how these types of clinics often have conservative opioid policies, minimizing risk in the process. That they want you to feel better without requiring medication, and that’s their first step. For most, the answer is pretty clear. How about you?