You’ve been having back or neck pain on and off for months, maybe years. You’re not sleeping as well as you could, or you’re not doing the things you’d like to do because of pain. These are serious issues not because they require serious care but because they can have an enormous impact on quality of life. Neck and back pain are problems to discuss with a spine specialist if they continue for more than a few weeks or if they recur frequently. In this time of social distancing and virtual consultations, though, you may wonder if a consultation will put you in any better position than you are now. It can, but you want to know how to make the most of your time with a doctor. We offer some tips here.
To make your spinal consultation productive, you’ll want to:
- Choose a specialist. It can be tempting to consult with your primary healthcare provider about all health concerns, including back or neck pain. While your general doctor has a vast background in primary care, they may not have the focused training you need to adequately address spinal conditions.
- Start a “symptom diary” before your visit. This is a good idea whether you are seeing your doctor in the office or via video chat. One of the ways your doctor can reach a proper diagnosis for pain is to know how long you have had it, how often it occurs, if it occurs after certain tasks, and how severe it is.
- Ask questions. Most people have a few questions about their pain before their appointment. Most have a few more pop up during their visit. Dr. Albert takes time to answer patients’ questions so they, too, can gain a clear understanding of their injury and potential remedies. It is beneficial to bring a tablet and pen to your appointment so you can jot down questions that arise.
- Don’t be shy. You may know the drill. When you see a new doctor, they ask a lot of questions about your general lifestyle and health. A spinal specialist is no different. In this instance, it is important to be completely honest so your doctor can make the most informed decision about a potential treatment plan.
- Listen to recommendations. Often, there are nonsurgical remedies that can help people move through a back or neck injury and return to a greater degree of comfort. The better that you follow the advice of your doctor after receiving your diagnosis, the better chance you have of returning to your normal activities in time.