How To Talk To Your Doctor About Your Symptoms
At Warner Orthopedics & Wellness, we practice patient-led medicine. This means that we do our best to engage with each patient who walks through our doors and let them take the lead in decisions regarding their treatment plan.
We provide a diagnosis and educate you about the condition- and you guide your own treatment, deciding what you’re comfortable with and what outcome you want to achieve.
Obviously, we provide the very best medical treatment and advice, but we do not leave you out of decisions about your own body and health.
How To Talk To Your Doctor
Communication is key in the doctor-patient relationship, but sometimes, it can feel difficult to approach your physician with your symptoms. You may not know how to describe your symptoms, or it can just feel intimidating sometimes.
If you’re experiencing painful symptoms, here are a few ways you can describe them to your doctor – to ensure the best possible communication.
First, describe the overall sensation of the pain. Is it a dull ache, or would you describe it as a sharp pain? Burning pain often describes nerve-based pain. Cramping pain indicates more visceral, smooth muscle pain.
Try to be as specific as possible when describing what your pain feels like, and what the intensity level is.
Questions Your Doctor Will Ask:
Your doctor will ask you questions related to your condition such as:
- How long have you been experiencing the pain?
- Did it start suddenly? If so, what were you doing right before the pain began – were you exercising, or did you fall, pull a muscle, or do anything else outside of your ordinary routines?
This information will help your doctor determine if you’re experiencing an overuse injury, or the onset of a condition that didn’t necessarily have a “cause.”
Remember: Any information is good information. Do not leave out details just because you believe we won’t be interested. Often, the smallest part of a larger story allows us to determine the cause and ultimate treatment for your problem.
Where Are You Experiencing Most Of Your Pain?
Be as specific as possible when you tell your doctor where it hurts – pain in your entire arm will be treated differently than localized pain to your shoulder or elbow. This will usually prompt your doctor to do a physical exam so they can ensure they know exactly where you’re experiencing pain.
If your doctor never actually touches you at any point and does not perform a good physical, it will be difficult for them to determine the problem. This is one of the many reasons it’s essential to have a comfortable relationship with your doctor, so you feel comfortable enough to really describe your symptoms in depth.
If your pain radiates and isn’t localized to a single area, be sure to tell your physician of this as well. This could indicate any number of things, such as nerve pain.
Reaching A Diagnosis: Manage Your Expectations
While it’s essential for you to communicate where you’re experiencing pain, what it feels like, and how long it’s lasted – we’d like to caution you against googling your symptoms to arrive at a diagnosis yourself. If the pain you’re experiencing is recurring and you received a diagnosis from another physician in the past, you should mention that.
If you want to make sure that you get an accurate diagnosis, or disagree with your doctor about your treatment plan, getting a second opinion is always a good idea.
Read More: Signs You Need A Second Opinion
At our clinic, our focus is on you – improving your overall wellness, helping you restore mobility and function on your own terms and at your own pace.