Despite being a common condition, it can be challenging to talk to your doctor about your back pain. This can be quite the dilemma, as precise communication regarding your back pain is essential to informing your doctor and giving them the knowledge they need to help you.
Whether it is a new experience and you have never had to articulate the pain you are feeling before or you simply cannot put the pain into the right words, there are often hurdles to overcome before your doctor can effectively diagnose and treat the pain and its source.
There is no reason to let miscommunication be the downfall of your back health. If describing your pain is easier said than done, you have come to the right place. Check out the following tips on how to talk to your doctor about back pain.
Start with the Basics
Informing your doctor of any preexistent health conditions, previous injuries, or other notable factors regarding your physical wellbeing helps them form a comprehensive view of your health and determine if there is an obvious underlying cause of your pain. From there, your doctor will likely ask you to describe your back pain.
Describing Your Back Pain
While there is no universal scale for assessing pain, there are a few key things to remember that can aid you in succinctly relaying your back pain to your doctor. Whether they the Wong-Baker Faces Pain Scale, another option, or just want to talk about your pain without the use of a scale, try to pinpoint the following:
- The location of the pain. Be as specific as possible, even if it means visually showing the doctor where the pain is rather than attempting to describe the location to them.
- Whether or not the pain is accompanied by other symptoms such as weakness or radiating pain into a limb.
- Is the pain consistent or sporadic?
- Does your back pain come in waves, present itself as an ache, or feel sharp?
- What worsens your back pain, and what seems to alleviate it?
- How severe is your pain? This is where the use of a predefined scale can be beneficial.
As you work through the specifics of your pain, do not be afraid to take your time. As you and your doctor have an open discussion about your back pain, you can work together to come to an understanding of how you both communicate. This should be advantageous as the conversation develops and for any future visits.
You have done your best to answer the doctor’s questions and to create a comfortable rapport with them, so do not be afraid to ask questions of your own. From confirming that you have communicated your back pain in an effective manner to asking specific questions about what you can do to alleviate it, there is no limitation to the curiosity you can have about your health.
Asking questions is one of the best ways to benefit from your doctor’s expertise and maximize the usefulness of your visit. As a healthcare professional dedicated to improving your health and quality of life, your doctor will be happy to help belay any fears you may have, provide you with valuable information regarding your condition, and aid you in your journey to a pain-free back.