Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Living With Nerve Pain? Careful What You Say To Your Doctor

Today's post from (see link below) is aimed at a wide spectrum of patients but it may be particularly applicable to neuropathy patients desperately searching for the right balance when talking to their doctors. As you will all know, you may need United Nations-level diplomacy when talking to your doctors about neuropathy, especially if you're an experienced patient, who's lived with it for some time, has tried many different drug regimes and has done their own research into the disease. Most articles of this sort advise you what you should say/ask to a doctor during an appointment but this one outlines some of the things you should avoid saying! Now, with all due respect to home doctors, some will have some experience of nerve damage and others may have little or none but pointing that out to them will only prove counter-productive. Yes, you may even know more about it than your doctor (only a tiny amount of their training focuses on nerve damage) but try to remember how much you need their support and help and try to cultivate a partnership. They may refer you on to a neurologist but many will try to help you themselves, so it's worth bearing in mind that the style of your own approach may be crucial. The first no-no in this article says that you shouldn't mention your own research. Now initially that may be true but I believe that doctors these days fully understand how much access patients have to information and will welcome patient input - so long as it's presented tactfully!! See what you think about the rest of the advice given in the article - worth a read. Remember, forming a partnership with your doctor will be the best benefit for your health.

What NOT to Say to Your Doctor About Your Chronic Pain
By Marc A. Cohen, M.D. Spine Institute. Copyright 2017.

Dealing with chronic pain can be both challenging and stressful. Communicating details concerning pain, however, may present an even larger challenge. While many people attempt to describe their pain the best way they know how, often, communication becomes a limiting factor in patient diagnosis and treatment. To avoid this pitfall, here’s what not to say when talking to your doctor about chronic pain.

Don’t Mention Your Own Research

There’s a reason doctors are qualified to diagnose and treat patients: they have years of education and experience. When speaking to a new doctor about your pain, don’t mention diagnoses or treatments you have found in your own research. You’re seeking the advice of a professional, not discussing the latest internet suggestion or advice you may have seen on television. Allow your doctor to provide you with the advice you seek; he or she is a qualified medical professional, after all.

Don’t Be Overly General

Don’t tell your doctor, “I hurt everywhere.” More than likely, you don’t hurt everywhere, even though it may seem that way. Choose the areas where you experience the most prevalent pain and give your doctor an accurate description of its origin and severity.
Don’t Relate Pain to Auto Accidents or Work Injuries

Some doctors may perceive this as an attempt to receive gain from your situation, whether it be insurance compensation or a legal settlement. While this may truly be the source of your pain, immediately attributing it to one of these instances may set off red flags for your doctor. Stick to simply providing an accurate description of your pain so that your doctor may provide an accurate diagnosis and course of treatment. Don’t make it seem that you are simply out for financial gain.

Don’t Ask for Drugs

Nothing sets off red flags like asking for a specific pain medication. With the ever-growing abuse of opioid pain medications, asking for a specific drug could lead your doctor to believe you may be exhibiting drug-seeking behavior. Allow your doctor to form a plan of treatment that he or she feels is appropriate to your case. You are in highly trained and experienced hands, and your doctor is certain to provide the best care possible.

Conversely, avoid saying things like, “I don’t abuse drugs,” or “I’m not an addict.” This is another glaring red flag that is sure to set off questions about your behavior.

Avoid Saying, “I’ve Tried Everything.”

Instead, make a list of everything you’ve tried, including medications and specific treatment modalities. Using this list, your doctor will be able to determine if he or she has anything else to offer you. Keep in mind that if you’ve already tried everything, you may not belong in a doctor’s office seeking further advice.

Try Not to Bring Other Doctors’ Ideas to The Table

Allow your doctor to determine which tests, scans, or labs you may need. While you may have visited other doctors who recommended specific things in the past, each doctor has his or her own method of forming a diagnosis and building a treatment plan. Allow your doctor to form his or her own opinions without bringing in the ideas of other doctors. If you neglect this, you may just set off a defensive response from your new physician.

Whatever the circumstances may be, it is important to allow your doctor to perform his or her job efficiently and effectively. Be polite, informative, and concise; and most of all, trust your doctor’s judgment. Do this, and you are certain to be on the road to better quality of life.

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