Bernard E. Filner, M.D., Pain Medicine, Rockville, MD

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a medical referral from another physician before I schedule an appointment with Dr. Filner?
No. Dr. Filner does not require receiving a referral from your physician before you schedule an appointment; however, he would prefer to receive any test results related to your condition before your initial visit. Your insurance company may require a referral. If so, please contact your insurance company.

Who will I meet with on my visits to the Pain Center?
Dr. Filner directly consults with, diagnoses, and treats each of his patients.

If my pain is recent, should I wait to see if it goes away on its own?
Usually, if a musculoskeletal pain continues to increase in severity without any relief after three to four days, you should attempt to find the cause. If the pain is interfering with your daily activities, it is better to have it diagnosed and treated early to avoid an acute situation becoming chronic.

I have had severe pain for many years. Is it too late to get relief?
No. What is important is to have a diagnosis, that is, to know why your pain is chronic and what is causing it. Once that is determined, a treatment plan can be established. While many pains are harder to treat when they have been present for many years (vs. many months), significant reductions in frequency and/or severity of pain symptoms, as well as greater functionality, can be achieved.

Does the Pain Center treat sports injuries?
Yes. Dr. Filner has treated many cases of acute and chronic pain caused by sports injuries, and designs his treatment plan around the athlete’s need to return to his or her sport. Dr. Filner’s aim is to both help the injury heal and allow the athlete to compete in the future without recurring problems.

Does the Pain Center treat performance artists (such as dancers, musicians, etc.)?
Yes. Just as athletes can suffer certain types of injuries due to their particular sport, performance artists can suffer injuries specific to their instruments (or dance moves). The underlying injuries are frequently myofascial in nature, and Dr. Filner’s aim is to help the artist return to playing the instrument, perhaps with a slightly altered method that prevents the pain from returning.


When will I feel better?
Most patients are treated during the first visit as part of the diagnostic evaluation. You will likely receive some relief at this first visit. However, because pain has complex causes, it may take several visits before the relief becomes long lasting.

Will I be able to speak to Dr. Filner on the phone in between visits?
Wendi, our office manager, who is skilled in handling preliminary questions, will answer any questions about financial matters, scheduling concerns, and routine medical support questions. She will relay any specific questions about your medical condition to Dr. Filner, who will answer them when he is able to.

How does Dr. Filner use medications in a treatment plan?
Dr. Filner’s general approach is to minimize the need and use of medication. That said, he will prescribe medications to patients who need help controlling their pain. Though our practice does not charge for writing prescriptions or refills, Dr. Filner does require an office visit for evaluation prior to issuing a third prescription for any controlled substance (e.g., opiates, sedatives, etc.). Dr. Filner CANNOT prescribe any medication to a patient prior to the first office visit. Also, our practice is not set up to treat patients with terminal cancer pain or other illnesses in which medication is the only form of treatment.

Which insurance plans does the Pain Center accept?
The Pain Center does not participate with any insurance plans. As a courtesy, we will file with your insurance company. However, you are responsible for payment at the time of your visit.

Why doesn’t the Pain Center accept insurance?
While the medical field has come to recognize pain as a major health issue, the insurance industry has been less responsive. In the 20 years we’ve been in practice, we’ve found the insurance industry slow to respond to the level of attention needed to treat pain appropriately. Because our principle goal is to alleviate our patient’s pain, we can not do so effectively if we lower the time we spend or the care and attention we give in order to meet the insurance industry’s standards.