Back pain is just one of several conditions that doesn’t always have a clear cause, sometimes resulting in contrasting opinions from different board-certified spine physicians in Santa Monica. Disagreements can occur over everything from the initial diagnosis to how best to treat it. This uncertainty can lead to unintended confusion if you’re just looking for clear answers and options.
Make Sure They Have All Info
If you’re experiencing symptoms not referenced in your medical records, mentioning this can help doctors take some of the guesswork out of diagnosing the source of your discomfort. Also make sure each doctor has:
- Copies of hospital reports for previous procedures
- A list of all medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter meds
- Recent test results, including image tests and blood tests
Get Opinions in Writing
It’s easier to decide which treatment options you want to try if you clearly understand what each doctor is recommending. Having opinions in writing also allows you to clearly identify where each doctor may agree and where they differ.
Schedule an Appointment to Ask Questions
You may not always be thinking clearly when you’re trying to process what a doctor is telling you during an initial visit. If you’re getting conflicting opinions, make a list of questions to ask each doctor during a follow-up appointment. Questions you may want to ask include:
- Why are you recommending this procedure or treatment?
- What happens if I hold off treatment altogether?
- What are my other treatment options?
Seek Another Opinion
There’s no unspoken rule that you have to stop at seeking an opinion from two different doctors before deciding what’s best for you. If you’re not getting clarity, consider seeing a third doctor. Let them know what other doctors have said and see if they’re in agreement with previous assessments.
It’s all right to consider things like how much recommended treatments will cost out-of-pocket and how long recovery would be if back surgery is being recommended. It doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other when making your decision. As long as there’s no medical urgency, consider trying some of the recommendations from each doctor to see what’s more effective for you.
If you’re seeking a second or even third opinion, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Spine Institute, a leading Santa Monica spine surgery center. Our experienced team of diagnosticians and spine specialists can diagnose the cause of your pain and provide you with all possible pain relief solutions. Call us today at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation.