Frequently Asked Questions 

Below is a collection of frequently asked questions about imaging exams and preparation. If you have a question not listed here, please contact us.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment at the SSM Pain Care center?
In many cases, no physician referral is necessary to be seen at SSM Pain Care. Some medical plans do require a referral, so check with your plan. While self-referred patients may be seen at the center, they are required to be under the direction of a primary care physician. Patients return to their primary or referring physician after treatment.

What should I expect at my initial appointment?
Patients coming to the center will first have a medical history taken by a registered nurse and an exam performed by a physician. This allows our team to select the best treatment for each person. The treatment plans are discussed with the patient, and any questions or concerns are addressed.

What is EPIC?
EPIC is the electronic health record system utilized by SSM to provide better, more comprehensive care to all of our patients. Each doctor you visit within the SSM network will have access to your medical history, imaging exams, and additional information to provide you with more thorough, quality care.

Will my pain be completely gone after treatment?
Each case is unique, and depending on the type and cause of pain, your pain may be eliminated or decreased to a more manageable level.

Will I become addicted to my pain management medications?
Each individual’s likelihood of becoming addicted depends on numerous factors, including the individual’s addiction history. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.

I haven’t been feeling as much pain, should I stop taking my medication?
Do not cease taking your prescribed medication without first talking to your doctor. It is just as important to follow your physician’s instructions for stopping medication as it is while taking medication.

Does an increase in my dosage mean I’m becoming addicted to my medication?
An increase in dosage simply means you are building up a tolerance to the pain medication prescribed. It is normal for your body to build up tolerance over time, and your doctor may change your dosage or type of medication to maintain the effectiveness of your treatment. An increase in tolerance does not mean you are addicted. 

Additional Resources
American Academy of Pain Management
- American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians