Frequently asked questions

How do I know if pain rehabilitation is right for me?

Candidates for admission to the Pain Rehabilitation Center (PRC) have chronic pain as a major health problem and have generally experienced a significant decline in functional abilities and quality of life due to their pain.

Pain rehabilitation can be a challenging process that requires a serious commitment toward making changes for your pain management, health, life and family.

A primary medical doctor or mental health care professional can assess whether pain rehabilitation may be an option for you and refer you to the program, if you're interested.

To assess your readiness for pain rehabilitation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my life focused on pain and what I am not able to do, rather than what I am able to do in spite of the pain?
  • Are my doctors telling me they can do nothing further to relieve the pain? Do they tell me I need to get on with my life?
  • Am I truly concerned about the long-term effects of taking pain medications?
  • Is my family's well-being affected by my chronic pain?
  • Is my recovery from injury or illness taking much longer than my doctors or I expected?
  • Am I not able to commit to social events with family or friends because my pain level may be higher that day?
  • Is my mood affected by pain and the activities I am not able to do?

A "yes" answer to any of these questions may indicate that pain rehabilitation is appropriate.

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Should I attend the three-week program or two-day program?

During the evaluation process, Pain Rehabilitation Center staff will help you determine which program may be most beneficial to you.

Those who are unable to manage activities of daily life or whose mood is significantly affected by chronic pain may be candidates for the three-week program. The three-week program offers features such as physical and occupational therapy, ongoing reinforcement and support. The two-week program doesn't offer these features.

Those whose lives are affected by pain to a lesser degree may be candidates for the two-day program. During this brief program, pain rehabilitation concepts are presented, and a plan is developed for each person to make changes in his or her daily life to manage chronic pain.

The two-day program is also an option for those who can't commit to three weeks because of time limitations or financial concerns.

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Should my family stay with me? Can my family participate in group sessions?

To maintain the confidentiality of all people in the program, your family members and friends can't attend group sessions during the three-week program.

However, a family program for your family and friends is offered every Thursday and Friday during the adult three-week program.

If your family members or friends aren't able to attend the family group programming, your nurse care coordinator can schedule phone conferences (with your permission) to discuss ways they can support your ongoing rehabilitation progress.

During the two-day program, family members and friends are encouraged to attend and participate in family group sessions to learn ways to help you manage chronic symptoms.

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Does insurance cover this program?

After the initial evaluation, a tentative admission date is scheduled to one of the programs. A representative from Patient Account Services will contact your insurance carrier for you, as many health insurance plans require approval prior to admission.

The insurance predetermination process varies from a few days to six weeks, depending on the insurance plan.

If insurance doesn't cover the program, a pre-service deposit is required prior to entering the program. For questions about insurance issues or approval status, contact Patient Account Services at 800-660-4582 (toll-free).

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How much does the program cost?

Many insurance programs cover most or all of the program cost. If insurance coverage isn't available, you can determine cost by contacting Mayo Clinic Estimating Services at 507-284-4024.

Families whose children are attending the pediatric program may want to budget for costs associated with evening and weekend activities.

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Are week nights and weekends on my own?

Adolescents attending the pediatric program in the Pain Rehabilitation Center are strongly encouraged to participate in social activities during the week and on the weekends to aid in the recovery process. Most of the adolescent patients served find this to be an invaluable experience while they are in the PRC.

Socialization is often an essential aspect in our work towards return to full functioning and increased quality of life. Typical activities may include visiting an ice cream parlor, having a board game night, having group dinners, going rock climbing, bowling, going to movies or shopping.

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Can I make an appointment myself?

Because people with chronic pain generally have complicated medical issues, the PRC prefers that people be referred by a medical health care professional, such as a primary doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist or rehabilitation counselor.

From background information obtained through a health care professional, PRC staff can determine if Mayo's rehabilitation approach may benefit you.

See resources for physicians for more information.

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I'm not sure that I can handle a full-day program. Can I participate for just half-days?

You're expected to participate in the entire program. Although some people initially doubt their physical ability to stay involved full time, the majority complete the program, even if they were deconditioned at the beginning.

Each person in the program is assigned a nurse care coordinator who is available for support, as needed.

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Where should I stay in Rochester?

You'll need to arrange for your own lodging. A brochure about staying in Rochester is available at the front desk of the Pain Rehabilitation Center.

Rochester, Minn., offers many lodging options. Some hotels have weekly or monthly rates. Most provide shuttle service to the Generose Building. Learn more about lodging options in Rochester.

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What should I bring?

Bring a personal CD player to the hotel. You'll receive relaxation CDs to listen to in the evenings.

You should also arrive with all your current medications in the original containers, when possible. Nursing and pharmacy staff will review your medications at admission and, after the treatment team meets to discuss your situation, plan for continued use.

If you're in the pediatric program, you're encouraged to bring homework for school or a book to read in the evening.

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What should I wear?

Your clothing should be comfortable, casual and appropriate for exercise and active periods during the day.

Considering Minnesota's weather variations, you may choose to wear layers of clothing for comfort. Staff may recommend that you wear tennis shoes or comfortable walking shoes.

Once a week in the PRC program, adult and pediatric patients participate in "Look Good Feel Good Thursday." This day provides patients an opportunity to prepare to return to work, school, social time and healthy outer appearance. Patients are encouraged to wear makeup, do their hair differently and dress up in general.

On the day of program completion, pediatric patients generally like to dress up for a graduation day as well.

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Are meals served?

Meals aren't provided. An hour is set aside daily for lunch. You should bring or purchase your own lunch.

The Mayo Clinic Hospital — Saint Marys Campus patient cafeteria and the Generose Express deli sell various food selections.

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How do I find the center?

The Pain Rehabilitation Center is located on the second floor of the Generose Building on the Mayo Clinic Hospital — Saint Marys Campus.

Learn more about traveling to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and maps of Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

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April 24, 2014