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DR. ARTHRITIS ASKS: HOW DO YOU CREATE MORE MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE WITH YOUR DOCTOR?
Dr. Arthritis is a brand founded on the medical expertise and experience of doctors. As such, we are very big proponents of patients speaking openly to their physicians about their symptoms.
To that end, we also know that this can be particularly challenging for a lot of chronic pain sufferers. For starters, the average one on one time that doctors spend with a patient is only around 15 to 20 minutes. Between basic routine exams and discussion of patient history and test results, there’s little time to discuss other things that you might have wanted to consult with. Factor in a patient’s confusion as to what is actually relevant to the conversation, apprehension and fear regarding possible diagnosis, and doctor appointments become intimidating and frustrating instead of reassuring.
However, this doesn’t minimize the fact that seeking medical expertise is critical to finding the right treatment and intervention for arthritis. So we’ve compiled a list of things to keep in mind on your next doctor’s appointment to ensure that you create a more meaningful dialogue with your physician.
1. Write down your questions
Doctor consultations can be intimidating and sometimes, overwhelming. As such, it’s common for patients to just go blank once the doctor starts talking.
Any concerns and questions you might have had leading up to this meeting may have been forgotten. Having a guide that you can refer to will ensure that you are able to discuss everything you wanted.
In addition to questions and concerns, write down a the names of your any medication that you’ve taken and add dosages.
2. Say something if you don’t understand
Speak up if your doctor says something that you don’t understand. Doctors do not always know when they’ve managed to explain something well enough. Unless someone points it out, they will likely assume that they have.
When in doubt, try to repeat what your doctor said in your own words and ask if you understood his point correctly.
3. Be open
Doctors ask questions—sometimes, they can be particularly difficult, overly-personal queries. Always remember that these questions are only being asked so that they can give you an accurate diagnosis. Do not lie, embellish, or omit anything about your personal history and lifestyle. These can be critical to the quality of care that you will receive.
As chronic joint pain sufferers, we’d love to know any tips and guidelines that you may have about this. How do you maintain open and clear dialogue about your condition with your doctor? Share it with the community by leaving a comment below.