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1.  What is Interventional Pain Management?

Interventional Pain Management uses procedures and State-of-the-Art technology to treat pain in addition to medications.  Unfortunately, “Pain Management” has received a lot of bad press because there had been a lot of unqualified and unscrupulous people abusing the system.  Fortunately, a lot has changed in the past several years with strict regulation so that only qualified physicians may practice the specialty of Pain Management.  In Interventional Pain Management, we use the latest technology to be able to relieve many sources of pain.  Most of what we do are procedures designed to reduce your suffering, reduce or eliminate medication need, and return you to functioning.  To receive the quality care that you deserve, make certain that your physician is properly trained, Board Certified, offers all the latest technology and procedures, and is well-respected in the community.  If a doctor is only able to help you by writing prescriptions, it is probable that they do not have the knowledge and skills to give you adequate care.

2.  Is Advanced Pain Management Clinic seeing new patients?

Yes.  We strive to see you quickly and painlessly.  We do require medical records from your existing physician, copies of all imaging performed, and 1 year of pharmaceutical history.  We participate in EFORCSE and will help you by checking your prescribing history.  Click NEW PATIENT PAPERWORK to download our forms that will make your first visit go smoother and faster.  You can print it, fill the forms out, and return them to the office in person, via fax, or by email.

3.  Is Doctor Willens Board Certified?

Yes.  Dr. Willens has two Board Certifications.  He is an Interventional Pain Management Physician with Board Certification in both Anesthesiology from The American Board of Anesthesiology  and Pain Management from The American Board of Pain Medicine  .

4.  Where did Dr. Willens get his advanced Training?

Dr. Willens trained at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He was also trained in Medical Acupuncuture by David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA under Joseph Helms, MD.

5.  Where did Dr. Willens go to school?

The Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine is one of the best programs in the country for Biomechanics Medicine and Osteopathic Manual Medicine. This school served as a solid foundation for his education in Pain Management. Following graduation Dr. Willens continued his education at Detroit Riverview and Henry Ford Hospitals. From there he went on to a residency in Anesthesiology and Pain Management at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

6.  Does Advanced Pain Management Clinic accept insurance?

Yes.  The MAJOR plans that we accept include but are not limited to:  Medicare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, Tricare, Avmed, and United Health Care. We also accept all Auto Insurance if you’ve been injured in an accident.  We do not accept Medicaid.

7.  Does the practice participate with Medicare?

YES! At this time we DO participate with Medicare.

8.  Does the practice accept Medicaid?  Do you accept self-pay patients?  What if you don’t accept my  plan?

We are not a Medicaid provider.  If you have no insurance or a plan that we do not accept, we will still see you as a self-pay patient.  There are discounted prices in order to make it more affordable for you.  In addition, we are able to help you file with your insurance so that you may be reimbursed.  Please call us for more information.

9.  I don’t like seeing doctors.  Will I like Dr. Willens?  What is a D.O.?

It is important to find a doctor with whom you connect.  There are all sorts of styles ranging from tough and paternal to very familiar and casual.  Dr. Willens, a physician for over 23 years, is an Osteopathic Physician( D.O.) and follows that philosophy.  He approaches his patient as a whole person, not just a Pain Patient.  He spends a lot of time educating his patients while giving all of the options for treatment including the RISKS, BENEFITS, and ALTERNATIVES.  If you are open to treatment alternatives other than just medication and are willing to be a partner in your own care, you will find Dr. Willens appealing.  The atmosphere in his office tends to be professionally familiar.  It is not a “stuffy” office.  We have found that outcomes for treatment of pain do better in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

10.  Will the doctor give me the same medication I am currently taking?

DO NOT EXPECT THAT YOU WILL BE GIVEN ANY MEDICATION AT ALL.  Each case is unique and needs to be evaluated individually.  There are Standards of Care issues & Scope of Practice issues that need to be considered in addition to the appropriateness of your current medication regimen.  Of course if you could get sick or be in danger if you stop taking your medication suddenly, you will receive proper care to avoid this.  Some patients are under the belief that they are “paying” to get their prescriptions…This couldn’t be further from the truth.  An office visit is where a patient is evaluated, a diagnosis is made and treatment is recommended.  If you are being seen only to get the prescription you want, it would be better if you went elsewhere.  Some patients want to be treated for High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Anxiety, an Infection, etc.  You will need to see your primary care doctor or appropriate specialist for treatment of any diagnosis other than your painful condition.

11.  How soon can I get in to see the doctor?

NEW PATIENTS  We try very hard to get you in right away but this is dependent upon a variety of factors, some of which are beyond our control.  These may include obtaining old records, getting insurance authorizations, and many times receiving necessary referrals.  Please call us and together, we will work very hard to get you in as soon as possible.

12.  What should I bring to my appointments?

When you come for your visit you should bring ALL the medications you are currently taking in their original bottles. On your first visit, please bring all your medical records with you if you have not made prior arrangements.  You should have your valid picture ID, Insurance information, and form of payment.   We have to collect all Co-Pays at the time of the visit.  We accept Credit Cards or Cash.  We do NOT accept personal checks.

13.  Are the new patient registration forms available online?

Yes. New patient forms can be downloaded here.   You can fax them to 904-683-2597. You can drop them by the office in person as well.

14.  What hours are you open?

We are open 9am to 5pm Monday thru Friday.  If you need emergency care after hours, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

15.  Are you open weekends?

Sorry, we are not open weekends.  If you need emergency care, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

16.  Do you see auto accident patients?

Yes.  Please see a qualified physician as soon as possible following your crash!  There are important new laws in effect that can limit access for your care.  You may contact us or please see your own primary care doctor immediately.  If there are any injuries that do not resolve within a couple weeks, it is imperative to see a Board Certified Interventional Pain Management Physician to avoid chronic pain.  If conservative treatment is not helping, do not waste time getting into see a Board Certified Pain Management Physician.  The clock is TICKING!  Please see our Auto Accident Page.

17.  What kind of pain do you treat?

We treat any pain when it is THE DISEASE not just a symptom.  For example, we wouldn’t treat abdominal pain if you had a burst appendix.  But if you’ve had a full diagnostic work-up and there are no treatable causes of the pain, we will manage it.  It would be hard to give an exhaustive list of what kinds of pain we treat, but if you are suffering, please contact us.  Whatever you do, DO NOT HAVE SURGERY to get rid of pain without first contacting a qualified Interventional Pain Management Physician.

18.  What are narcotics?  What is the difference between Oxycontin, Roxycontin, Methadone, Heroin, etc.? 

This question has confused a lot of people and the following is a simplified explanation.  The term narcotic has come to refer to all controlled substances both legal and illegal.  The term comes from “narcosis” meaning sleep and originally refered only to substances that are similar to morphine.  For example, Cocaine is not a “real” narcotic…it is a stimulant.  Opioid refers to the natural compounds that come directly from the Opium Poppy.   These are substances like Morphine and Codeine.  Opiate refers to all compounds that are similar to Morphine in their actions including synthetics and semi-synthetics.  This includes Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Heroin, Methadone, etc.  It does not include medications like Xanax and Valium which are Benzodiazepines.  Oxycodone has received a lot of attention because it is a powerful opiate and easily abused.  It was originally combined with Tylenol (acetaminophen) or aspirin under the brand names Percocet or Percodan respectively.  Later it was available without any additives except a coating to make it last longer under the brand name Oxycontin.  It was also made available as a pure immediate release medication under the brand name Roxycodone (NOT “ROXYCONTIN.”)   Methadone is a purely synthetic opiate which has properties that make it useful in Pain Management.  It is potent,  naturally long-acting, and inexpensive.  These same properties have made it useful in narcotic dependency.  Unfortunately, it has also given this helpful medication a negative reputation and powerful stigma.  In reality, all of the narcotics have very similar risks and benefits.   None of them are inherintly bad and none is “better” than another.  It really depends on their pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics as to how they are used or abused.

19.  What is the difference between Addiction, abuse, dependency, and tolerance?

Addiction is a DISEASE.  It is not a MORAL FAILING.  It is characterized by denial and continued use despite negative consequences.  It has a strong genetic component and is a brain disease.  It is TREATABLE but without treatment, it always ends poorly:  Jails, Institutions, and Death.   Abuse is the action of taking the medication for non-medical purposes.  Physical Dependency occurs with anyone who takes these medication for a period of time.  It means that if you stop taking the medication you will get sick…withdrawal.  Many medications have these properties including high blood pressure medication, narcotics, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.  If you stop taking narcotics, you may feel like you want to die!  Fortunately, narcotic withdrawal is not deadly by itself.  This is not true if you are dependent on medications like Xanax or Alcohol.  Therefore, if you need help getting off medications, please ask for help.

20.  Do you treat addiction?

Yes.  Dr. Willens is not an addictionologist or a psychologist but he can begin to treat the disease by helping with the physical dependency.  Dr. Willens is a specially licensed physician who may treat Addiction on an out-patient basis.   Suboxone can be very helpful in stopping the cycle and controlling cravings.  It only treats some physical parts of the disease.  Sometimes inpatient treatment is indicated.  If you believe that you or someone you know has this disease, please get help.  Your local NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) can begin the process as well.

21.  Do you treat anxiety?

No.  Dr. Willens is not a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist.  Of course, anxiety can be a part of chronic pain and needs to be treated properly.  In most cases, this needs to be addressed by a well qualifed mental health professional to treat the source of the anxiety.  If medication is indicated, treating chronic anxiety with medicines like Xanax is inappropriate in most cases.  There are many more effective and safer alternatives available.  If you are on chronic Xanax, do not expect Dr. Willens to continue this medicine.  Of course, stopping Xanax or other benzodiazepines abruptly can be dangerous and you may be weaned in a safe manner if indicated.

22.  What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?

Acute pain is when there is tissue damage that causes the sensation of pain. It resolves when the tissue damage heals.  An example of this is a broken arm.  Acute pain is relatively easy to treat as it responds well to narcotics which are used only for a short time.  Chronic Pain occurs when there is pain that last longer than 6 months and may be present after an acute injury has healed.  It is much more difficult to treat.

23.  Are you going to get rid of all my pain?

While we would love to be able to say “yes,” we don’t make any promises.  If treated early, the odds are better.  Unfortunately, it is all too common for patients to be seen late in their disease process.  This occurs for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that both patients and other doctors are not aware of what an Interventional Pain Management Physician can do.  We spend a great deal of time and effort in attempting to teach the Medical Community what options are available.  Unfortunately, most patients and even other doctors believe that all we do is give narcotics.  The reality is that if treated early (within 6 months of onset), the outcomes can be quite good.  Of course if surgery is performed, the anatomy is changed forever and relief is much harder to achieve.  The best answer to the question is to say this, our goal is to improve functioning and reduce suffering for people who suffer in Chronic Pain.  Please beware of anyone who promises to you  that they can make you “Pain Free.”

24.  What is Osteopathic Manipulation? 

Dr. Willens, a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and a Board Certified Pain Management Physician, uses skills that are similar to chiropractic manipulation.  Because having your spine in proper alignment is imperative for you to heal, Dr. Willens is able to perform Osteopathic Manipulation to correct the somatic dysfunctions.

25.  Can you prescribe a Back Brace?  Are they covered by insurance?

Yes.  A properly used back brace can be an invaluable tool for back pain which can allow a patient to heal.  Dr. Willens recommends only authentic Professional Medical Grade Back Braces which are typically covered by most healthcare insurances subject to co-pays and deductible per your specific plan.  Many other Professional Medical Grade braces may be indicated as well such as ankle, wrist, and knee orthotics.  All of these braces are usually stocked in the office and available so that you do not need to wait and may take them home from your regular office visit.

26.  Does Advanced Pain Management Clinic see children?

Dr. Willens can see patients of all ages.

27.  What can I expect on my visit?

You can expect a thorough, comprehensive, and complete visit with Dr. Willens.  At this office, you will get to see an actual Doctor.  He will take the necessary time to discuss medical history, previous treatments, and find out what the best course of treatment will be.  This is a good review of what to expect.

28.  How often will I have to come in to the office?

Frequency of visits depends on the treatment plan. Some patients are seen every month and others only come in when necessary.

29.  Does Advanced Pain Management Clinic accept referrals from other doctors?

Of course.

30.  Are there any websites that give information on pain management?

http://www.spineuniverse.com, Partners Against PainSpine-health.com have quality information about symptoms, causes and treatments.

31.  Does Dr. Willens have other providers in the office that will help take care of me?

At this time, Dr. Willens sees all the patients personally.  You can expect to see Dr. Willens at each visit,

32.  Your office sounds wonderful and I’ve read a lot of great reviews.  Are patients ever unhappy with your office?

In general, for the protection of each and every patient, our Narcotic Policy, our Treatment Agreement and all laws are strictly enforced.  Of course, overusing, sharing, selling, or taking illicit drugs is a deep concern and is always addressed.  In addition, Eforsce is utilized to detect Doctor Shopping and criminal activity.  When these situations occur, appropriate action is always taken and patients may be discharged, referred to Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation, or reported to law enforcement.  Patients are billed usual, customary and upfront fees even if no prescription is issued.  Payment is for services rendered:  History, Physical Examination, Assessment, and Treatment Recommendations.  Refunds are not generally issued due to disagreement with the  Assessment and Treatment Recommendations.

3003 Claire Lane Building 100 Jacksonville, Florida 32223 904-683-2596