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Questions for the Experts: At the Walk-in Clinic, my only options for pain medicine are pills or a shot. Why is that?

We asked members of our medical staff to answer some common questions they hear from their patients. Read Dr. Tim Bohlender's answer to: At the Walk-in Clinic, my only options for pain medicine are pills or a shot. Why is that?

A: We often have patients with abdominal pain and pain from an injury come to the Walk-In Clinic. As a physician, I am very sensitive to addressing pain, and we ask patients to rate their pain on a scale of 1 to 10 several times during their visit. We have medicines that work well with mild to moderate pain that can be given in pill form, or sometimes as an injection. These medicines can take up to an hour to take effect, which we know can be uncomfortable for the patient. We ask patients if they feel their pain needs to be relieved immediately, so we can help them choose the best option for pain relief.

In order to provide the most effective treatment as a physician, I need to know the underlying reason that the patient has pain, so we often have to do lab tests, x-rays or CT scans in order to diagnose their problem. These tests also take time to perform, and time to get the results back. It can seem even longer to get these results when you are in pain, but we are committed as a clinic to see patients as quickly as we can while providing them with safe and effective care.

Because we are an urgent care clinic, we don’t have the resources to give intravenous, or IV pain medications, the kinds that are most effective for excessive pain. In those cases we may refer you to a higher level of care, such as the Emergency department, because they have the equipment and staff to care for life-threatening illnesses or injuries. If you are seen in the Emergency department, we work with the nurses and physicians to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible.

We know that some people suffer from chronic pain that lasts longer than the expected healing period and alters their quality of life. When we see patients with chronic pain, we know that developing a relationship with a primary care provider or pain specialist can help them much more in the long term.

Tim Bohlender, MD, practices at the Campbell County Medical Group Walk-In Clinic, which provides fast, convenient care for serious but not life threatening illnesses and injuries with no appointment needed in Gillette, Wyoming. Save your place in line on our website. Choose the time you'd like to come in and you'll get a text message when it's time to come to the Walk-in Clinic. Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/wic.

If you don't have a primary care doctor, find one at www.cchwyo.org/findadoc.