A strong relationship between a patient and his or her doctor is vital in receiving the best overall care on the journey toward overall health and wellness. This is especially true if you are receiving care for pain management.

No one can truly understand the pain that you may be experiencing, or the severity of the illness. That being said, the management of your pain is a collaboration between you and your doctor.  While your doctor might be able to “see” your pain on CT or MRI scans, there are a lot of things that don’t show up on a test. Because of this, it is essential for you to explain how you feel by providing a detailed account of symptoms, onset, and duration of your pain. Often doctors will ask you how about your pain on a scale from one to ten to help them assess and monitor how you are feeling.

Before you meet with your doctor at your scheduled appointment, here are a few things to consider.  Additionally, keeping a detailed log or journal of your symptoms, diet, sleep and activities can provide your doctor further insight into your condition.

Here is a list of questions to answer, before you meet with your doctor.

  • Where is your pain located?
  • Does the pain stay in one place or does the pain radiate to other parts of my body?
  • Does anything that I do trigger my pain?
  • What is the onset of my pain, sudden or gradual?
  • What is the level of my pain at the moment on a scale from one to ten?
  • What is the worst my pain has been?
  • What am I doing to manage my pain?
  • How has the pain affected my quality of life?
  • What activities have I given up because of my pain?
  • What other medical conditions do I have? What type of medication(s) am I taking to help manage those other conditions?
  • How have I reacted to pain medication in the past? If there was a reaction, what medication caused it?
  • Which other pain medications might my doctor recommend? What are the side effects?
  • What if I am unwilling to take any further medications?
  • Am I willing to use alternative treatments to help manage my pain?
  • What are my goals with pain management?

Considering all of the items listed above should help you make the most out of your appointment time. Remember to bring your notes with you, and if you experience any additional symptoms, jot those down as well.

On the day of your appointment, here are some questions you can ask your pain doctor to get a more accurate picture of your pain management strategy.

  1. What is the source of my pain?
  2. How were you able to confirm that?
  3. Do I need to have any additional testing to help confirm this diagnosis?
  4. What are potential triggers for my pain?
  5. Will my pain treatment plan be able to help lessen the triggers?
  6. What else can be done to help me with this?
  7. Which medication(s) can help manage my pain?
  8. What are some of the potential side effects of treatment?
  9. If I am allergic to a medication, what is an alternative option?
  10. How many patients have you treated with this type of pain?
  11. What type of treatment options have you offered to other patients?
  12. Were those treatment options successful? If so, what made them successful?
  13. What can I do to help make treatment successful?
  14. What kinds of alternative pain therapy would you prescribe for me if I am not interested in taking medication?
  15. What type of modifications can I make to my diet or exercise to help regulate my pain?

Bringing a detailed list and log to your doctor’s office can help you find answers for efficiently managing your pain, helping you get on the path to an overall wellness journey. If you have any other questions that you would recommend, please comment below.

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