We all know that feeling. Leaving the doctor’s office and trying to remember exactly what was said. Were all my questions answered? Do I need to followup? Did I explain all of my concerns?
With short, sometimes infrequent visits, a trip to the doctor’s office can feel like a lot of pressure, especially when the reason for the visit is something hard to describe like neck or back pain. You have a few minutes to communicate your symptoms and feelings, be evaluated and receive treatment.
In addition, what if you are interested in treatment without painkillers? You are ready to supplement your treatment with chiropractic care but aren’t sure what to say. It can feel like a lot to explain in a short time.
You are not alone.
According to the National Institute of Health, an estimated 149 million work days are lost each year due to lower back pain. That’s a lot of people seeking medical care for pain.
With a few simple tweaks, your doctor’s visit can be easier and more helpful. Let’s get you ready to talk to your doctor about your pain and how to treat with chiropractic care.
1. First things first.
If you’re primarily seeking your doctor’s advice on treatment without drugs, say that first. Your doctor wants to partner with you to work towards your best health. Sometimes, we get sidetracked explaining our pain. Your doctor may not know that you are hoping to explore chiropractic care first. Be clear about your intentions for the visit so the doctor knows exactly what your goals are. Then, he or she can ask you more specific questions and provide a better evaluation and recommendation for treatment.
2. Make a list.
If you have multiple questions or concerns, write them down before your visit. Then, during your time in the office, you and your doctor can work through the list one by one. If you’ve tracked your pain patterns or symptoms, bring that information to the visit as well. Your preparation will help your doctor get a more complete picture of your needs.
3. Be honest.
Tell your doctor if you’ve used any alternative treatments to relieve pain. Be clear and descriptive about your pain and any relief you’ve gotten from treatment. Don’t brush off the details; give a clear and accurate picture of what you are dealing with. Ask about chiropractic care and if it might complement or replace any current treatments. Explain your desire to seek pain relief without drugs. If you are worried, speak up! Your doctor wants to work with you to help you feel better and feel confident in your care.
4. Be an active listener.
After the evaluation, concentrate on what your doctor says. Take notes on a piece of paper or your phone to help you remember what was said. If necessary, ask your doctor to repeat him or herself or explain it another way if it doesn’t make sense. Consider bringing a family member or close friend to your appointment to help ask questions and keep the visit on track. Perhaps that loved one can take notes while you concentrate on what is being said. Ask for another appointment if necessary or find out how to communicate with the doctor or nurse outside of scheduled appointments.
A collaborative partnership between your doctor and chiropractor starts here. With a little bit of planning, your doctor’s visits will be productive and help you reduce your pain more quickly.