7 Tips for Your First Appointment With a Spine Specialist
Are you experiencing back pain? It’s not surprising. The sudden drop in temperature during the winter months increases your chances of spine strain.
But know this. If you’re going to the spine specialist for the first time, it’s very important that you come prepared.
It’s a little known fact among patients that those who are properly prepared for their spine appointment receive better care. And what do we mean by better? We mean more accurate care with less guessing/testing and faster recovery time.
So we reiterate: it would be very unfortunate for you to show up unprepared.
The good news is, we’ll show you exactly how to prepare for your visit in the following guide. Before your first spine specialist appointment, prepare yourself according to this list.
1. Organize Your Concerns
If you have any worries or concerns about your spine condition or your upcoming appointment, write them down. Write a list of questions you can ask the doctor during your appointment.
Do this now. If you think of any more concerns before your appointment, write them down immediately.
If you don’t do this, you’ll forget about these concerns until the appointment’s over. Then you’ll have to make another appointment.
2. Gather Your Medical Records
Gather any relevant medical records you have and bring them with you. Bring vaccination records and injury/illness/treatment records. If you can, bring copies of any imaging or radiology reports on you: x-rays, MRIs, CTs, etc.
3. List What Records You Don’t Have
As for the relevant medical records you don’t have, make a list of this information. Write your own record of your medical history. Remember to include medical conditions that run in your family, like diabetes or cancer.
You should especially include any injuries, other conditions, and treatment that has to do with your spine. As accurately as you can, try to include the dates on which these events and conditions took place. The more information the spine specialist has, the better they can pinpoint exactly what state your spine is in.
4. Obtain Even More Medical Records
Now that you have your list, try to obtain the official records of this information. Call the physicians and hospitals who treated you for these conditions. If there are any of these records you can get access to, get access to them.
Find out what records they can send to you or to your spine specialist and have them do so. The most important are imaging and radiology reports, plus records of any previous neck or spine surgery.
Remember: giving more information to your spine doctor means faster and more accurate treatment.
5. List Chiropractic Treatments and Other Therapies
Don’t forget to list any massages, acupuncture, physical therapy, or chiropractics your spine has gone through. Even home remedies, like heating pads or CBD oil, should be listed.
6. List Medications
List any medications and over-the-counter/illicit drugs you take regularly or have taken since your spine condition began. Include your typical dosage. If you don’t do this, these drugs may cause complications to any treatment your spine doctor prescribes.
Also mention drinking, smoking, and any other such substance use.
7. List Your Current Symptoms
Now, make a detailed list of your current condition. Include the answers to the following questions.
- How would you describe the type of pain you’re experiencing?
- Is there tingling or numbness?
- How would you rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10?
- Does it hurt constantly or only when you move it in certain ways?
- When did it start hurting?
- Does it come and go?
- Has it gotten worse, better, or stayed the same?
- Are there symptoms in other parts of your body besides your spine?
If you ponder upon these questions now, you’ll have better answers when the doctor asks. You might also provide helpful information the doctor forgets to ask about.
Prepare For Your Spine Specialist Appointment
Getting improper care for your spine condition is a painful ordeal. But being prepared for your appointment gets you the most effective treatment.
Prepare for your spine specialist appointment with this guide.
For related help, read, How to Choose the Best Spine Surgeon.