How to Prepare for a Spine Consultation

Back pain can make even the most simple activities difficult. Sleeping, cooking, sitting, driving…activities you took for granted become almost too painful to complete. Making an appointment with a specialist, waiting for that appointment, and getting through that appointment can all be part of the activities that you just don’t want to face. However, if your pain isn’t going away, getting help is the best path to relief.

At the Spine Institute of North America, we understand what an ordeal back pain can be, and that is why we work so hard to provide world-class solutions. The thing is, the effectiveness of your treatment begins with that first conversation between you and the specialist. Chances are good you have waited a while for your appointment because specialists are busy. When you finally have a specialist’s full attention, it’s important to make the most of your time. In today’s blog, we’re going to share some tips for effectively communicating what is going on so that the specialist can get you on the fast track to relief.

How to Make the Most of Your Spine Consultation

The key to effective communication with a medical professional is being accurate, to-the-point, and honest. It can be easy to get lost in the weeds, especially when you’re suffering. Additionally, some people feel awkward providing certain pieces of information. However, when you’re in an appointment, you have to be honest. Pieces of information you feel uncomfortable sharing might be key to getting to the bottom of what is going on.

Read on for 10 questions that your specialist will likely ask.

  • When and how did the pain start?
  • Where exactly is the pain located?
  • How long have you been dealing with the pain?
  • Describe your pain.
  • Are there times when the pain is better or worse?
  • Is there anything that makes the pain more intense or less intense?
  • Is your pain lighter in the morning and more intense at night?
  • Does the pain lessen when you stand up or sit down?
  • What impact is the pain having on your daily life?
  • How has the pain been treated – if anything?

As you can see, this is quite a list. We recommend sitting down before your appointment and answering each question so you are prepared. It is worth it to write your answers down. There is no such thing as being too prepared for a professional spine consultation.

If you aren’t sure exactly when the pain started, try to give the doctor a date range. When describing the pain, useful terms include “stabbing,” “dull,” “sharp,” “shooting,” “hot,” and “aching.” These are all words with which specialists are familiar from their training.


What to Expect After Your Consultation

You should leave your appointment knowing what is going to happen next, whether it is extra imaging or a surgical pre-op. In our experience, most appointments have one of three outcomes:

  • If you have tried non-surgical pain treatment but it has not worked and imaging has revealed that you have an anatomic lesion like degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, disc herniation, or spondylolisthesis, it will be time to learn what type of surgery will give you relief. This will include recovery time and the surgeon’s success rate.
  • If you have insufficient imaging and testing records, you’ll be headed in for more imaging or tests like a discogram.
  • If the specialist cannot determine what is going on, or comes to a conclusion that makes you uncomfortable, it may be to your advantage to see a second specialist and get another opinion.

At SINA, we have been in the business of healing spines with pain management and minimally-invasive solutions. We are on a mission to be your solution. Contact us today!

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