Living with Chronic Pain

Tips for a Successful Doctor Appointment

Source: WebMD

Communicating your pain and symptoms to your doctor can be a hard thing to do. By the time most people show up to a doctor’s appointment, they are frustrated, have missed work, cannot seem to find relief, and may be dealing with depression. Some people many have seen several doctors before being referred to a pain specialist or have had to wait a long time to see one. Here are some tips for getting the most of your doctor’s appointment. 

Communicating With Your Doctor

Many pain specialists are on a time restraint. When they see you, they may seem rushed or in a hurry, which can be frustrating to a patient who has waited a long time for relief. Use this time with your doctor as efficiently as possible. Be sure to use your regular pain scale logs (PainScale journal) to clearly communicate all symptoms of your pain and any other conditions you may have. Doing so will help your doctor give you a proper diagnosis. Sharing this information openly will also help your doctor decide which treatment is best.

Tell your doctor if you are struggling with depressive or anxious thoughts on top of the pain. Your emotional health plays a significant role in pain management and can directly affect your treatment plan. Cognitive behavioral therapy and multi-disciplinary pain management techniques are available to treat pain symptoms as well as any mood disorders. Your attitude plays a significant role in how pain is perceived in the brain. Increasing optimism and positively dealing with pain may help reduce its severity.

Try these tips for helping communicate your pain: 

Tip 1: Tell your doctor where and when you feel pain 
  • Tip 2: Use words to describe the pain such as sharp, aching, or dull 
  • Tip 3: Tell your doctor how your pain affects your daily life 
  • Tip 4: Communicate the pain on a scale of one to ten, but go into more detail on what triggers the pain and all the treatments you have explored. 
  • Tip 5: Communicate if you feel depressed or anxious?

    You may also want to bring along a list of medications and treatments you have tried. Be realistic and understand that your doctor might be crunched for time; therefore, it is helpful to book two appointments if you think one won’t cover it. Come prepared to your appointment by telling your doctor what you expect to get out of the visit. Ask questions and communicate your pain thoroughly. Remember to keep an open mind and be positive.

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