Choosing the right doctor can be difficult, but if you look for these traits, you can feel confident you’re making the best selection.
Good Listening Skills
Doctors who listen learn about what’s going on with their patients, picking up clues that may help them diagnose health problems and devise the best treatment plans. When you feel listened to, you’ll also feel valued by your physician and trust that they know enough about your health concerns to treat you well. Look for a doctor who lets you speak without interrupting you, who maintains good eye contact, and who poses relevant questions, as these are all hallmarks of a good listener.
Empathetic to Your Situation
You might think it’s better to be efficient than empathetic, but don’t dismiss the importance of a friendly bedside manner. Michigan State University research found an empathetic doctor can reduce pain awareness.
The study saw some participants consulting with doctors who only asked clinical information. The remaining subjects saw doctors who asked open-ended questions about their personal lives and addressed concerns about upcoming medical procedures. Participants then received mild electrical shocks while viewing photos of either the doctor they knew or the other physician. MRI scans found the people who’d seen the more personable doctors felt less pain during the shocks while viewing their doctor’s image. They also reported greater satisfaction with their physicians.
If you’re already struggling with pain, simply being around an empathetic physician could help reduce your symptoms.
Experience with Pain Management
A doctor with experience in pain management, especially your specific medical condition, will typically be able to treat you better than someone unfamiliar with chronic pain. Some pain conditions are still misunderstood, even in the medical world, so it’s best to have a doctor who is knowledgeable about your specific ailment, its symptoms, and the preferred medications for treating it.
Interest in Medical Advancements
Technology is transforming the healthcare landscape, bringing new developments to treat patients more efficiently and effectively. In the last few years, we’ve seen everything from spinal cord stimulators to low-level laser therapy technology reducing the symptoms of people in chronic pain. To ensure you don’t miss out on the latest pain management breakthroughs, look for a doctor who shows an interest in medical advancements. A professional like this will keep his or her ear to the ground and suggest new trials and treatments to help you better manage your condition as they become available.
Available to You
When chronic pain flares, you want to know you can see a doctor straight away. People with chronic pain conditions cannot afford to wait weeks for medical care. Don’t be afraid to ask potential doctors what their availability is like. Learning how long it typically takes to get an appointment can help you decide whether a specific doctor is the right pain management partner for you.