Getting a diagnosis requires that you speak frankly with your doctor about your pain and other symptoms. But most doctor appointments are short. How do you prepare for your appointment so you can get the most out of it? Some people keep a journal of symptoms to use as reference while meeting with their doctor. Others bring a friend or family member "in the know" to pinch hit for them in case they get too stressed to speak for themselves. Everyone is different - share your experience with us so you can learn from and help others.
Share Your Experience
- I have had pain in my back since I was 19 I'm now 24 and finally got what's wrong I broke my back between two herniated dics after my mom pasted away from cancer this year. I have adnornomal devolpment of spine bone and a perturbing plaete and my spine is disparaging rapidly. The doc's told me I'll be in pain my whole life I'm a mother of two and sometimes do not want to go on because of the pain. I was told to live with it. I can not and with all the years no doctor has ever gave me a solution to my back problems to resolve it. Other than meds which will only last so long and temp relif. You must make it. Clear of your pain and truly some doctors really do not care because they have not to live in your pain. Hope all feel better but back problems are hard to live with in the US.
- —Guest In pain
Going on 3 decades of back pain
- I dealt with chiropractors and ODs for years with decent results. During and adjustment in the summer of 2008, I came up off the table like a startled cat. The chiropractor wrote a scripts for a thoracic MRI on the spot. I did not need to be a doc that severe spinal stenosis is not good. It took 2 years of meeting with Neurologists, Neurosurgeons, & Orthopedic surgeons. Yoga, PT, OT, Acupuncture (one Chinese, one US trained), my primary care sent me for Lumbar and Cervical MRIs; her brother is built like I am (at the time 325 pounds at 6 foot) and told me about failed back syndrome and failed back surgery.
I am 225 pounds now at almost 6 foot. After thoracic and cervical spine surgery this year, I am still in pain and probably will be for life. [Both surgeries were completely successful – Surgery was a must given the other symptoms. One Doc told me pain was not a symptom. “Don’t get me wrong, I will operate, but will make no promises about the pain.”]
- I am suffering from a severe back pain and is six years and I cnt get help, I went to different doctors but I cnt get help and is so painful
- —Guest Robert
- I got real bad back pain on Sunday night, Monday mornng driving to work it came back and then again at night, now it is waking me up during to night. I goes as far down to the back of my knees and up to my shoulder blades, an aching and burning sensation... I`m worried to what it can be???
- —Guest Tina
- my friend thorw me and i hit my back on the cover on the street it messed it up and my neck to now my ribs hurt and plus my spine is tingler so what do i do???
- —Guest nicole
No one believes me
- I have unknown chronic lower back pain for the last six years. I was sent to a pain specialist who treated my pain with needles every 2 weeks & opiates. For a long time I was frustrated with the doctors not taking my pain issues. If it would help I would subject myself to a polygraph test to prove I was not lying. Eventually, one GP has take my pain issues seriously and has referred me to a pain specialist at one of the hospitals. What worries me is if tests don't find a cause I am afraid of being viewed as a malingerer or worse. One of the problems is that since my medical condition is not critical you are not deemed as a priority. However, my quality of life is so poor with so much chronic pain life is intolerable. My hope is that eventually a cause of my pain will be diagnosed properly. At the moment opiates give me some relief and in the last five years my opiates have NOT increased.
From time to time I will not use the pain medications but with two days pain are intolerable. Vic
- First, you need to get a diagnosis. So usually that involves going to a PCP, then to some MRI or other imaging, then back to PCP and then a referral to someone--neurologist, surgeon, whatever. Personally, I've found that the MRI is essential, but seeing a D.O. who specializes in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine are best because they spend an hour with you. They are very patient and answer your questions. They are not surgeons, but have the training equivalent to probably a neurologist because they have to know the anatomy and what can/cant do what, since they are not "bone crackers". I spend an hour with them, we discuss options, they are usually very good about prescribing pain meds if necessary and in general I find them to be invaluable. If I contrast that with some neurologist who really isn't interested in my situation, is overworked, comes in and does a quicky exam, and then says "I'll be right back" and never does, its a no win. Try it, you'll never want to go anywhere else.
concise questions for orthopedic doc
- List your questions, pin him down as to a proper answer, smile but don't let him be arrogant and push you out the door. Don't look worn out or depressed. :et him see courage and perseverance, Take all pertinent test results with you, Weigh carefully his conclusions before deciding what to do.
prepare to insist
- I do my list ahead of time so that I know what I want to ask, but I also make sure to get my questions answered even if I have to be pushy about it. I'm paying, I have a right to get understandable answers.
- —Guest OMPilates
Take Someoe With Me
- I find it comforting to take someone with me. I get really stressed when I know the doctor only has 15 minutes, and I've been dealing with my pain for months. A family member or even a friend is a big help when I get flustered.
- —Guest Linda S.
One Very Important Question
- I bring a list of questions, but try to ask one in particular. "Doc, if it was you or someone in your family that had my symptoms and physical findings, what would you do and why?" I have found that this question sometimes generates a longer, more thorough and thoughtful explanation...
Lists: Questions, Symptoms, Medications
- Having a list of questions is a good idea. But two other lists I would have handy is a list of my spine pain 'symptoms" to relay. Also a secondary list of symptoms that I feel may or may not be related to the back. You may think that sore feet or tingling in your fingers have nothing to do with your back problems, but it is worth mentioning just in case. You never know. Also, keep a list of all medications and supplements you are currently taking on hand.
- —Guest lila
Concise list of questions
- Knowing I won't have much time (not nearly enough!) I make sure to limit my list of questions, and toward the end, I ask my doctor if there are any websites he or she suggests I refer to.