During this COVID pandemic, our office visits will be done virtually through telemedicine. We have a lot of patients of higher age and risk and we want to keep you and them safe. All you need is a smartphone. Our staff will take your initial information over the phone and then you will have a telemedicine visit with Dr. Villarreal for you initial visit. Don't worry, if Dr. Villarreal or you feel like the virtual visit was not enough, we will make a regular in person appointment in our clinic.
For your procedures, we have spaced our the schedule so you hardly see another patient. Your temperature will be taken and you will go directly to your exam room where the pre-procedure evaluation will take place. Your ride will wait in the car while you get your procedure and we will call them when you are ready to be taken home. Our protocols have worked great so far and hope we can continue to provide safe care.
This is probably the most asked question and the answer is, we don't know. How long or well something helps depends on many factors that depend on each patient specifically. How well your body takes the medication, the severity of the disease and how long you have had the pain are but a few factors that determine the length of pain relief after the procedure.
Unfortunately no. We require you to have a doctor's referral for your initial visit even if your insurance does not require it. This ensures we get accurate medical records, imaging records and are able to provide you with adequate continuity of care. Plus your doctor will want to know you are seeing a pain specialist so he/she can coordinate your treatment with us.
For procedures where sedation is advised, you should not eat 8 hours before the procedure. This is due to the risk of your stomach having residual acid and it increases the risk of breathing that acid if it comes up.
Certain procedures also effect certain parts of the body and may numb or weaken them temporarily. This makes it unsafe to drive. Our staff will let you know if your procedure requires a driver and will over all the pre-op instructions with you at time of scheduling.
Pain medications are sometimes used as one component of a multi-modal approach to pain management. On your initial visit, your physician will review your history, perform a physical exam, review imaging if available, and then come up with a plan tailored uniquely to you.
We will also evaluate your list of medications during the initial visit and provide our recommendation to you and your referring doctor about continuing or stopping opioid therapy. We may recommend another course of treatment that does not include opioids. We do not always write a prescription for opioids, so please do not arrive with the expectation that we will automatically refill your prescription. If we opt to prescribe opioids as part of your care plan, we may adjust the medication to a more appropriate dose, dosing schedule, or a more adequate medication.
On the day of the procedure we will send you home with detailed discharge instructions. These instructions will tell you not only what you should experience but also what you should not. They will also give you the ways you can tell if your procedure helped you.
“Minimally invasive” simply means that the majority of the procedures we perform are done percutaneously or through the skin. Percutaneous procedures involve the introduction of very small needles or needle-like instruments, and do not require stitches afterwards. This approach means that the risk of infection and complications, while still present, is minimized.
It is normal to have pain after an injection. Every body works differently; some patients feel worse before they feel better, others feel better right away. If pain persists, apply icepacks for 10-15 minutes every 4-6 hours.
Call the office if you experience any of the following symptoms: fever, persistent headache, bowel/bladder issues, or weakness.
Since we are mainly an interventional pain clinic, we do not take self pay patients. We have found, in our experience, that self pay patients quickly become medicine only patients due to the lack of coverage needed to have the proper procedures done. We believe in the evidence confirmed multi-modal approach to treating pain and want to provide the proper treatment options available.
It depends on your contract with your insurance carrier. We verify your eligibility and payment records they have on file. Copays and deductibles are collected at the office visit as is our in-network contract with your insurance carrier.
We send out patient statements once a month. These statements show your payment responsibility per your insurance carrier.
We treat headaches that arise from the upper neck, or Occipital Neuralgia. (We have more information on these headaches in our patient resources education page.) Headaches like tension headaches, cluster headaches and migraine headaches are best treated by a neurologist. If your neurologist referred you to us, it must mean he/she feels these cervical headaches may be your problem.
We prescribe medication in a conservative basis. We practice under Best Practice Standards which are in line with the Multi-Modal Treatment Approach. Once pain medication is started, we do want to establish a date of stopping these meds as our goal to treatment. We want to prescribe these medications as a mean or bridge to improve your situation temporarily while we perform the needed treatments that provide long term quality of life improvements. We also follow the CDC established guidelines for medicine prescribing. You will find more information on pain medicine in our patient resources education page.
Yes we treat myalgia and fibromyalgia. We have great informational videos on this in our patient resource education page.