Seeing a new doctor in which you are not familiar with can be an intimidating and uncomfortable experience. Health is a personal issue, therefore addressing concerns with a stranger can make people feel more closed off, potentially leading to misdiagnosis or not fully getting the treatment that would work best.
If you are visiting a new doctor in regards to your chronic pain, there are certain things that need to be addressed in order for them to treat you in the most lucrative way possible.
Over or understating the amount of pain that you are in does not give the doc a fair chance to evaluate you properly. Try your best to define your pain descriptively. Using words like “sharp” or “stinging” for example, can feel differently to different people. Simply stating that you “hurt all over” is far too broad for a doctor to be able to hone in on the root of the problem. Pick one or two areas and work together from there.
Inform them of when the pain started, not just any time you’ve gotten hurt. Knowing which specific injury lead to your ailment is another step the doctor can use to solving the burden that is your chronic pain. Also, in regards to allergies, be very specific. You could be one of those people that are “allergic to everything”; this doctor hasn’t been with you for a long time and therefore isn’t copiously knowledgeable of your health record, so be very distinct as to exactly what your body can and cannot tolerate.
Say you have tried everything under the sun to relieve your pain; that’s great, but the doctor won’t know exactly what has already failed if you can’t prove to him what you have tried. Compile a list of treatments, medications, and therapies you’ve exhausted while trying to find relief for your pain. They will likely have other methods you haven’t tried or heard of that may be of aid to you.
Share Your Goals
No one can physically feel your pain but you, so it’s not easy for a doctor to know exactly how much you are in. Set practical, realistic goals that you hope treatment will bring you. Someone who wants to be able to swing a golf club again, opposed to someone who just wants to be able to get out of bed in the morning are very different indicators of just how much pain has decreased your functionality and quality of life. Making goals is the first step to producing the best treatment plan that’s right for you.
More than likely, the new doctor you are visiting is there to help and wants to understand your case to aid you to the best of their ability. As uncomfortable as it may get, you need to be open and honest, clear, and prepared to make your clinic experience a pleasant one.