This post has some great tips for preparing for a doctor’s appointment. I thought you would like to read it. The tips here can apply to any type of doctor or medical professional appointment.
January 29, 2021
So, you’ve made a doctor’s appointment to discuss your chronic pain. That’s great and a huge step forward! Establishing a relationship with a good doctor can lead to treatment options, knowledge, and support that may ease your daily discomfort. Preparing for your appointment is a must, as it can lessen your stress and ensure you’ve gathered all pertinent information that your doctor might need to understand your case. Whether you’re seeing a regular MD or a pain specialist, the following 5 tips to get the most out of your pain doctor’s appointment.
Write down the history of your pain and the symptoms you experience
In order for your doctor to best understand your condition and provide an accurate diagnosis, you’ll want to share all pertinent details about your condition. It can be hard to remember all the information you want to relay when you’re actually face to face with your doctor, so take time before your appointment to write down the medical history of your pain, symptoms you experience, and any other information you think might be helpful. You should include:
- An estimated date of when your pain began and if it followed a particular incident (i.e. after an accident, infection, or surgery).
- How your pain has progressed or changed over time.
- The different symptoms you experience and what they feel like—burning, stabbing, shooting, dull, achy, sharp, deep?
- Any triggers that you’ve noticed that make your pain worse. These might include lack of movement, activity, rainy weather, certain foods, stress, etc.
- Any treatments you’ve tried to reduce your pain. These might include medications, supplements, creams, injections, psychology, alternative therapies, physical therapy, surgery, changes in diet, etc. Which have helped and which have not?
- If you’ve had any scans done, such as X-rays or MRIs, bring them or the results with you to the appointment.
Come up with a list of questions you want to ask
Just as with your pain history, it’s easy to forget questions that you wanted to ask your doctor when you’re on the spot during your appointment. To ensure that you get all of your questions answered, write a list of any questions or concerns you have beforehand. Start creating this list a week or more before your appointment to allow time for additional questions to pop into your mind. Designate a small note pad and pen to your questions list and make sure it’s accessible at all times—even carry it with you on outings so you can jot down questions before you forget them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification
Your doctor’s appointment will undoubtedly include the exchange of a lot of information, some of which you probably won’t understand. During your appointment, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to explain something in simpler terms or in a different way if you don’t initially understand it. Don’t be shy—this is your doctor’s job and clear communication between you two is key in receiving the best care possible.
Bring a notepad to write down helpful information
It can be hard to remember what you had for lunch yesterday, so as you can imagine, it’ll be difficult to remember all of the information your doctor tells you during your appointment. That’s why it’s crucial to bring a notepad and pen with you when you go into your doctor’s office. Take copious notes during your appointment and don’t hesitate to ask your doctor to slow down or repeat something. You never know what information will be of help to you, so jot down as much as you can so you can review it following your appointment.
Consider bringing a trusted friend or family member
Having someone with you at your appointment not only provides comfort, but comes with the added benefit of having another set of ears there to listen to the doctor. You might feel a bit scared, anxious, or flustered during your appointment so having someone there to support you can go a long way. Your companion can help you write notes, ask for clarification, advocate for your health, or simply offer. Be sure to ask your friend or family member to accompany you a week or more in advance so that there’s a better chance they’ll be free to go with you.
You are ready to get the most out of your visit
Apply these 5 tips to get the most out of your pain doctor’s appointment and you will also get a sense of comfort knowing that you’ve done everything you can to advocate for yourself. Preparation is key so really take the time to gather pertinent information, write down questions, and mentally prepare yourself to speak up. Wishing you the best of luck at your appointment!
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