How to Prepare for Your Pain Consultation

When you’re suffering from chronic or persistent pain, searching for relief can feel overwhelming. Choosing the right specialists can take time, but once you’ve made your first consultation it’s important to be prepared to ensure a smooth start to your recovery. Your health care providers want to help you get your life back, and in order to do that, they need to know as much about the pain you're suffering from as they can.Here's a list of tips you can focus on to prepare for your pain consultation.

Know Your Medical History

Everyone's medical history is different, and that's why it's so important you know yours to share with your pain specialist. Even if you feel the information is not connected to your current pain, it’s important your doctor has a full and complete picture of your physical and mental health so that they can properly diagnose your pain and not repeat previous methods of pain management that may have failed you in the past.Your medical history can include:

  • Previous diagnosis related to your pain and your overall health. Whether you've suffered from a heart attack or a broken leg, your doctor needs to know this information to understand your health.
  • Any and all medications you are currently taking or have taken in the past whether they were in regards to your pain management or for an unrelated condition. Medication interactions can be deadly, so your doctor needs all the information to properly diagnose and prescribe anything in the future. Don't forget to include over-the-counter vitamins and supplements.

Keep a Pain Diary

The symptoms of your pain are going to help your doctor manage, diagnose, and treat it. Your doctor has the best chance of success if they have all the information you can give them, and we all know how easy it is to forget that one crucial thing. Keeping a diary of your symptoms will help you better understand and relate them to your doctor without forgetting any important information. Your writing should be as clear and concise as you can make it and should include important points, such as:

  1. When did the symptom first start?
  2. How long does it usually last?
  3. Does the symptom reoccur and if so, how often? Does it precede or follow any regular activity during your daily routine?
  4. Is the pain getting better, worse, or staying the same?
  5. How severe is the pain and how does it impact your life?

The more details you can provide to your pain physician, the better the chances they will be able to help you.

Make a List of Questions

When your doctor asks if you have any questions, be prepared with a list. You know you have questions, don't let them slip from your mind. Keep a running list of questions in your pain diary to help you remember. Some important questions to consider include:

  1. What is the cause or condition that is causing my pain?
  2. Is this level of pain normal for this condition?
  3. Are there any long-term side-effects I should be concerned about and try to mitigate from this pain?
  4. What treatment options are available to me? How do they work?
  5. Are there any short- or long-term side-effects to my pain management and treatment options?
  6. Are there any pain management options I can do on my own to lessen my pain?
  7. Are there any alternative or homeopathic treatment options available to me?
  8. Where can I find a support group for people with my condition?

Have Visual Proof

Along with your pain journal, you may wish to bring pictures and videos that show the progression of your symptoms. Some symptoms may come and go, and if you want your doctor to see them clearly, documentation can be useful for showing things such as:

  • Bruising or color changes to your skin
  • Changes to your hair or nails
  • Dry skin, rashes, or mottling

Come Prepared

Whether you need an interpreter or a friend to accompany you, make arrangements in advance for someone to attend your pain consultation if you feel it necessary.If you will need an interpreter, talk to your specialist when you make your appointment and see what services they offer or if you will need to bring someone with you. You don't want important information to get lost in translation when it could make all the difference to your recovery.Likewise, if you need moral support or just need help getting around, check with friends and family in advance so you have the support you need during your consultation. Always plan in advance.

We are Spine, Pain, & Orthopedic Specialists

Here at Dallas Spine we are ready to support and help you in whatever way we can. We know that while your suffering may be invisible to the naked eye, it is very real for you, and you need help. We are an affordable pain management clinic with a combined 86 years of practice between our physicians. So contact us today to arrange for a pain consultation and don't let pain hold you back any longer.