Your initial appointment to see a spine doctor can feel a bit daunting at first. If you’ve never been treated for back and spine issues, you might be unsure of what to expect. Not only are you probably experiencing some back pain now, but there are the additional considerations of paperwork, questionnaires, and overall uncertainty. Fortunately, a bit of advance preparation can help. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your first visit with a spine doctor.
Obtain CD copies of your imaging and radiology reports
The number one piece of information that spine doctors use to help diagnose and treat back pain, is diagnostic imaging! MRIs, CTs, and x-rays are invaluable in helping spine doctors get to the root of the problem. With proper imaging, our doctors will be able to see what structures are specifically causing your pain, shaping their care plan for you.
Assemble your personal and family history
Your spine doctor will likely want to know about various medical issues that run in your family line. For example, has anyone in your family had back or spine problems in the past? Is there a history of cancer in your family? Has anyone had diabetes, high blood pressure or other significant ailments? What is your own personal history with back pain? You probably need to fill out some sort of questionnaire with this information, so the more information you can gather ahead of time, the better.
Get your past medical records together
If you’ve been treated for back and spine issues before, make sure your doctor access to all those medical records. If you don’t have this information in your own files, request copies from your prior physician. This will help your spine doctor immensely and diagnosing your problem. In addition, make sure you have your insurance information handy to speed the registration process.
Make a list of all your symptoms
What pain or discomfort are you experiencing? Have you been injured? Is the pain mild or severe? Are you feeling any numbness or tingling? Are you experiencing mobility problems? Make a list so you don’t forget to tell your physician anything important.
Make a list of questions for your doctor
Sometimes during the first appointment, anxiety or nerves may cause you to forget to ask something you wanted to know. To help you remember, make a list beforehand. Your questions may include:
- What are the possible causes of my pain?
- What tests do I need to take?
- What are my options for treatment?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- What are the side effects of the medicines? What can I do at home to ease the pain?
With these preparations, your first visit to the spine doctor can go more smoothly, accompanied by less stress. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Polaris Spine today at 404.256.2633.