How To Talk To Your Doctor About Your Back Pain

If you are considering seeking professional assistance in managing your back pain, you’re taking the first step in helping your body find relief. However, it’s not always easy to explain to the doctor exactly what’s going on with your pain. This can be problematic, because if you can’t accurately describe what you’re dealing with, your doctor may have a difficult time making a proper diagnosis.

To help with this process, we’ve come up with a couple of tips to help you best explain to your doctor what you’re experiencing. Keep these tips in mind the next time you visit a doctor’s office.

Don’t be Embarrassed

Sometimes patients hold back when they are talking to their doctor because they are embarrassed about some of the symptoms or problems associated with the condition. However, these may be serious issues that need to be brought to your doctor’s attention. For example, if your back pain is causing you to lose control of your bladder, or its causing sexual dysfunction, your doctor needs to know about these issues.

When and Where

Be descriptive about your back pain. Don’t just say that your back hurts, tell your doctor that your lumbar spine hurts when you runner, or your cervical spine hurts when you turn your head to the right. Tell your doctor the specific location of pain, and what type of actions make pain worse or better.

Symptom Journal

Both patients and doctors can benefit from the patient’s use of a symptoms journal. As the name implies, a symptom journal is a way for patients to track their symptoms as they are experiencing them. By writing them down, you’ll have a clear and concise reference guide for how your back was feeling on certain days. This also provides a better indication of our true levels of pain, because studies have shown that we don’t always remember our past pain levels correctly.

Overshare instead of Undershare

When it comes to sharing the details about your back problems, it’s always better to overshare instead of undershare. Let your doctor determine which bits of information are relevant and useful. Undersharing can lead to guessing or an incorrect diagnosis, so share anything that you think might be relevant about your spine pain.

Be Honest

We’ve probably all told a white lie or two to our doctors in the past, whether it’s about our diets, our alcohol intake or our use of tobacco. The problem is that your doctor is asking for this information to get a clear picture of everything that’s going on in your life, not because they want to judge you on your life choices. Lying about certain things or telling half-truths only end up hurting you in the long run, so be open and honest.

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