If you’ve had spine-related aches and pains for a while and the remedies suggested by your primary care physician aren’t really making much of a difference, you may be referred to a spine specialist. As with any type of medical appointment, it helps to be as prepared as possible to get the most out of your visit. Continue reading for some tips on how to prep for your spine specialist appointment.
First, look up the location of your spine specialist’s office and calculate how long it will take you to get there. This will allow you to plan accordingly so you’re not late. If you’re a first-time patient, you should get to the office about 15 minutes or so before your scheduled appointment time because you’ll likely have to provide insurance details and fill out some paperwork before you’re seen by the specialist.
When getting ready for your appointment, it can also be helpful to:
• Have copies of X-rays and other test results sent from your primary care physician’s office to the spine specialist’s office
• Ask your doctor to forward a summary of his or her findings to your specialist
• Make a list of all current medications you’re taking, even ones not specifically related to your back/neck pain
• Put together a list of your symptoms so you don’t forget to mention any of them during your appointment
• Keep a journal for a week or so prior to your appointment to note your level of discomfort, when it’s most noticeable, and what seems to trigger it
To get the most out of your time with the specialist, keep the focus on your spine-related discomfort during your appointment and keep off-topic discussions to a minimum. Also, be honest about your lifestyle and other factors that may be contributing to your symptoms. You’re not being judged. This information is useful when it comes to making an accurate diagnosis and offering treatment recommendations that are most likely to be effective.
Your visit will also be more productive if you take the following additional steps:
• Ask questions about anything you’re not clear about.
• Establish the goals you hope to achieve with treatment (e.g., getting back into your favorite sports or activities, being able to work or get through your day without distracting pain, etc.) so you and the specialist are on the same page.
Lastly, make sure you understand what steps to take next, which might involve picking up some prescriptions, setting up an additional appointment for image tests, or arranging for physical therapy sessions with a recommended therapist. Also, make sure you have contact info for the specialist or someone on his or her staff in case you have any follow-up questions or concerns after your appointment.
If you’re having sudden, severe, or long-term pain in your back or neck, consulting a Beverly Hills spine surgeon may be the key to prompt diagnosis and treatment. At The Spine Institute, our physicians have years of experience treating every type of spinal health issue. Our pioneering specialists lead the industry when it comes to surgical and non-surgical innovations and helping patients get back on their feet as soon as possible. Call our friendly staff today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.