I am nervous about an up coming appt. I have with a pain specialist. I have 2 bulging discs (MRI shows), and a lot of pain and stiffness that go along with it. I have had several bad experiences with doctors not taking me seriously. Once I had to see a neurologist for migraines. He asked me if I was an anxious person. When I said yes, he told me to do yoga and left the exam room. I left without even an aspirin. I think this happens a lot with women, I don't know. Can anyone share with me how to get a dc to take your pain seriously and not blow you off? I also don't want to come across as being a bully either. any ideas are welcome. thanks
How do you get a doctor to listen?
Added 22 Jan 2011:
I have something to add briefly. When I called to get an appointment with the dc that was referred to me, apparently he's REALLY GOOD and is all backed up. instead i have an appt with a "new" dc only practicing 4 years. Is this a good thing? Should I wait til March for the "experienced" doctor? your experiences on this will help me a lot. cathleen
Added 10 Mar 2011:
It's been 7 weeks and I promised an update.
Well the pain specialist did take me seriously. Since then I've had an MRI which shows scoliosis, arthritis, bulging disc, foraminal stenosis,microdirectomy foraminotomy disc herniation at L5-S1. Gave me an epidural. Then had me see a surgical consult which I did. He said only
a fusion would work due to my scoliosis. Any suggestions A's to do the surgery?
21 Jan 2011
I'm so sorry to hear that you're having such troubles with your doctors! My doc at first totally thought that I was some drug dealing junkie, and even called me a junkie once!!! I couldn't believe it, it's so easy to be judgmental of others, disregarding pain for weakness, when in fact... it's PAIN! I studied up on all medication options, entertained all of my docs misled med trials, until we finally tried a few that worked. In order to get the guy to increase the dosage to a level that relieved the pain, I had to write a letter listing the reasons as to why I'm in pain, how it affected my life, and if my doctor didn't have any options, that I'd have to go to a different doctor who was willing to prescribe medications that I know that he disapproved of for the type of pain that I had - specifically nerve pain.
Now, after a year with the guy, he's loosened up a ton, and treats me with respect. He listens to my needs, vs before when he was just a plain out jerk. He now has saved me financially with money saving tips as to how you can order certain meds across seas to save a ton of cash. He also prescribed a schedule 2 vs. a schedule 4 stimulant to save me some cash for a month while my insurance was switching over.
In order for me to get the guy to listen, the letter really helped a ton as well as having another docs (the doctor was shady as can be) opinion as well as a alternate script that I could have had filled. This is what I had to do, but everyone's situation is different, and my experiences may or may not be of use to you. Regardless, you have to be assertive as lemon girl mentioned if the doc isn't taking you seriously. You have to demand a solution, and if there's no solution given, then you need to find another doc unfortunately.
I hope that this is of some help, and I do hope that things go better for you in the future!
9 Mar 2011
Cathleen186, I think if you have good notes as to what you need to say, make a list of questions, tell him what works and what doesn't work, tell him what you are allergic to, remember you pay him, you deserve to be heard, he gets paid to listen to you, if he seems uninterested then it's your job to shock him if you have to to get him back on track. Can you wait for the doctor that has the experience? if not then go in there and expect things to go well, if you have doubts then you are setting yourself up for failure, You are the best and you deserve the best, take all of your medicines with you, you have all those problems you need his help let him know that, tell him you need his help in finding a way to make your life better, tell him that you are exhausted with what you have been through, just be honest and open, if he is what he is suppoe to be then he will respond in a positive way, otherwise find anothr physician.
I will be thinking of you but remember the more information you have including X-rays, laboratory work, I know it's a lot to go through but you have to prove your case or I have found it works better if you do, Now go in there and expect the best because you are the best
14 Mar 2011
My sister in law had to have that done. It did help her. I would also get a second opinion which is always a good idea. Remember this is your body and ask a lot of questions and don't worry what the doctor thinks. If he or she is a good doctor they will answer your questions and explain everything. Good luck and let me know how you are
23 Feb 2011
I started having problems with my neck when I was 20, then diagnosed by MRI 6 years ago with Osteorthrits in the top 4 vertabra in my spine. This, of course, was after 14 years of trying to get doctors to even pay attention to what I was actually saying about the pain. Finally I now have a doctor who is really listening to me and doing everything he can not only for the pain put for my Bipolar medication too. I start my morphine therapy starting Friday and am a little concerned about that. But, anyway, back to you... I know it's a long road to travel but you'll find the right doctor eventually. Google "Salud Family Medical Center" if you can and see if there's one in your area. They cut my doctor's visit from $75 a visit to $7 and prescriptions from $5 to $17 for each. They saved my butt! Just some things to think about. Hope you can find that doctor who will listen to YOU.
14 Mar 2011
A good caring doctor should listen and answer all your questions. This is your body and you need to know everything and any side effects of the medication that he is giving you. If you can't do it your self then bring a friend or family member with you to talk to the doctor. Some doctors just say take a pill and I'll see you in a few weeks. That is not an answer to me. I have disorders and I could not leave my house for over a year. Panic attacks like crazy. I go to therapy now and I and my doctor talk and she listens and I have finally found out a lot of things from my past that have be hidden way down deep. I now know why I act a certain way around people. I thought I was crazy and I just could not tell anyone how I felt. I was scared all the time and I still don't like being around people but with my doctors help I am learning to deal with it. I am weening off the effexor. I went from 225mg down to 37.5. I have had good days and some very bad ones.
I don't like this medication and I want off of it. Look around find a doctor who you can trust and feel comfortable with. That is very important. Take care and I wish you the best
9 Mar 2011
Start taking notes about your pain. How bad it is , when it is the worst, etc... Makes lots of notes about the things you want to ask, & the things you want to say to him. Don't be shy about it either. Take your MRI with you too. Any & all records you have will back you up, plus I'm sure your doctor wouldn't have referred you if he didn't believe you had a reason to go there. All of these help & you will be more confident because you will have all your questions & answers right in your hand. My doctor appreciates the fact that I do this. Infact he usually grabs my notes & says "well, lets see what we have going on this time", & reads my notes himself because most doctors realize we get nervous & forget things just like most peoples blood pressure goes up when they go to the doctor. That's why they usually take it twice. I wouldn't be shy about going to a newer doctor, they usually have newer training methods.
OMG! Cathleen it's you asking the question! I just referenced back to the question & saw who asked! DUH! Hey girl, why did it take 7 weeks for this question to get to me? I haven't seen it before, honestly. If you haven't ALREADY had your appt., good luck! Let us know how it comes out. I meant it about taking notes. Just write stuff down as it comes to you. It really helps. My pain doc is the most understanding doctor I have, & and really love my GP so that's saying alot. Keep us updated! Your friend, Mary
21 Jan 2011
Good morning Cathleen As Sweet says, try to be confident, even if you don't feel it. I know it's easier said than done, but really do try. You may want to hold off discussing any type of pain medications until later in the exam. Caringsonbj had a great idea as to what info to write down. What meds you tried in the past and what they were prescribed for. And whether or not they helped. I would include all meds, not just ones for pain. And write down if those helped or not too. That's a really good idea! It shows the doctor that you want to be proactive in your own care and you're coming prepared to the consultation. This is an important visit. This is when "first impressions" play a roll. Not only his first impression, but yours of HIM. Then again, as jk13 says, it took a while to build up a repore with his doctor. But I still think first impressions can be important.
It's also important to be open minded to all recommendations he has, physical therapy, MRI's, consultations with other specialists, even injections if he really feels they can help your condition. Be sure and ask him about other patients he has, the percentages of ones who were pleased with the results, how many went on to have surgery for this, ask if a chiropractor would help this condition, etc. Write these questions down. When the medications DO come up, if they're ones you tried in the past, tell him, "Dr. So and So prescribed Relonixen to me in July of last year for such and such. It didn't work for me. My pain has gotten worse since then. Can you recommend something else?" Even if he doesn't prescribe good pain control the first visit, it's going to look bad if you don't follow up with him. Tell him "I'll give it my best doctor but I'm a little skeptical this will work." Because if you don't follow up, it will look like you're uncooperative and only saw him for meds. PROVE them wrong! It's a shame doctors are scared to prescribe these meds even though they would be justified in many cases to do so. Be open minded too. There's new procedures and meds coming out all the time. Maybe there's something you haven't heard of yet that may work! When is the appointment? Relax, write down all the info you need, and then some! Best wishes and let us know how it turns out. I'll keep you in my prayers and thoughts.
9 Mar 2011
You know what helps me - coz I tend to have the same experience as you, especicialy with MALE doctors, but I make a list with every point I want covered during the visit, a list I make over the days before the visit,, leaving room on the list to write down additional Qs that come up while you are with the doctor.
Just go in with your objectives for the visit in your mind and on the note to yourself.
And I just want to say... the Dr. who mentioned the yoga probably did think the Yoga would be the best option. I know, by sticking around here, I am very hesitant to take pain pills, unless it is real bad, coz I read, over and over
how people build up a tolerance, and pile on more meds to meet the next threshold, and so on.
I am 48, and I hope to live a while longer, and if, at this stage, while I am still kind of spry (ha, ha), I take a narcotic for every discomfort I feel, I will end up behind the eight ball and in rehab. But that is me - my choice. I just offer it as food for thought.
I also go to physical therapy, do the PT exersizes, and will be doing exersize class in the pool - that stuff seems to help, and I am told, these things will slow the advance of my arthritis, and stabilize my problem areas with new strength and lengthening. I am hopeful.
I hope no one takes offence at what I have said - I realize that a lot of the people need a maintenance regime with meds for break through pain - I get it. Several of my freinds here are dealing with heavy duty pain issues.I have less pain and, as a former abuser of substances, I am very cautious for myself, and, at this point in my life, if I just wait, time and a hot pad can sometimes lessen things to a manageable level. It is a matter of making sure I don't get stuck in the maw of addiction when I am still in the early stage of my lifetime allotment of pain ... like I know, in years to come, it ain't going to be better, and I am saving my allowances for then.
22 Jan 2011
"Been there,Done that", Cathleen ! ... I also have lower back pain & have had for years.Have had 2 surgeries for the same area, different discs. My first Dr. also "Blew me off" & told me it was impossible for the back to hurt all the time. I told him to take a good look at me, because it was the LAST time he would ever see me there. I DID eventually find the "Right Doctor" & when you DO find the "right one", you will know it.; although it can be "Mentally, Emotionally && FINANCIALLY Expensive", hopefully you also will find "The right one". Try to find "the doctor's previous patients" & ask them first.You can find out a lot from them!. Good Luck... I DO understand... Judy
20 Jan 2011
Fake confidence if you do not feel it. Even the way you walk and your body language speaks volumes.
Do NOT let a doc blow you off!! You must be assertive, yet not aggressive.
Just stride right into the exam room and make sure you are heard.
I shall keep me fingers crossed for you...
and if one doc does not listen, find a new one!!!
20 Jan 2011
i am blessed she is one of the best I have had her for about 4 years she is an internist and does pain managment, she allows me to talk and ask questions and have input I tell her my concerns and she tells me once I suggest something if its not a good idea she explains why, I think explaining to a doctor your history in a precise manor, you pay him I don't mean to sound like I am going to be a bully but its true he get paid either by the insurance you pay or direct pay from you I think sometimes when things start to go south they need to be reminded I am here because I need your help won't you please at least try and help me?
you have no idea what pain I have been through please allow me to know what I am about make a list before you go so if you get nervous then you have something other than your memory to fall back on I think sometimes (some of them depend on that) also taking a written or typed history that include dates of when and what you've had done, medicine you have tried those that have worked and those that have not, yes its a lot of work but I am afraid thats just what you have to do in order to keep the doctors attention, make up your mind you aren't going to fold under pressure, I think once they see you are prepared to give answers they are not prepared for that a you are not the weak link in the chain, I don't doubt for a minute that you don't feel up to this but I did it 4 years ago and the doctor remarked it was very unusual to have a patient prepared to participate in their care if I can be of further help please let me know I am pulling for you hear me? take good care and the very best of luck! (Billy)
20 Jan 2011
Sweetlemon is right! You have to be confident and persistant. Sometimes it does take going to a few different Drs before you find a good one to help you. I, personally, would not go back to a Dr who blew me off (I have had it happen and I won't go back and tell anyone one who asks what a crappy Dr they are too!) There are quite a few Drs out there with 'God complex' but there are some really good ones too. I find it best to go on the recommendation of others who go to the Dr if I can. I ask people I know who may have similar problems I do and ask them who they go to until I find a good recommendation and I will go to that Dr. If you are stuck with one particular Dr because of where you live or due to your insurance be persistant.
One thing I've learned about pain management is that you have to be persistant! I have a Dr right now that I don't feel as comfortable with as I did past Drs. I had a really fantastic Dr and she ended up leaving her pain practice and moving out of state and I've felt adrift since she left. She was absolutely wonderful and she will be a hard act to follow. I'm still a little timid with the Dr I have now and I'm still kind of feeling him out. I need to speak to him about changing my meds and it is difficult when you are not sure how they will take it. I find it is best not to be really demanding on my first visit. I will feel them out in the first couple of visits and do what they suggest then I get a little more demanding as time goes on. I've found if you walk in the first visit and demand to be put on this or that drug and try to tell them what to do they will balk and not work with you at all. Take any old records you have. Take any x-rays, CT Scans, MRI's, previous Drs notes-anything you have to prove your case, per say. Be sure to tell them where the pain is, describe how it feels, what all you have tried for pain relief, what worked and what didn't. Sometimes it is good to talk to the medical assisstant who comes in the room prior to the Dr. Sometimes if the Dr has a PA, the PA is a little more willing to listen. Good Luck to you and don't give up!
22 Jan 2011
The short answer first "keep looking for a doctor that will take you serious". I would start with having an up to date MRI,or other documentation of your back condition. Armed with that i would go to some pain management clinics. If you have your ducks in a row it should be very easy for you to be taken serious for your pain. And from my back problems i can tell you that with pain meds the doctors normally prescribe anti anxiety meds such as in my case valum,or xanax. Doctors these days are under a lot of presser to make sure their not being hustled by drug addicts and some doctors have already been burned to many times. they just dont trust new patients sometimes. So have the correct paper work and you should be fine. After you prove your the real thing i think youll find thing will get better for you on your future visits at docs office. But you need that MRI or something recent proving your 2 buldging disk. Hope i could help you out. GOOD LUCK!!!
22 Jan 2011
you make notesd of everything that has happened (do this a day or so prior to the appointment) I know you can do it, Tell him exactly what and when it happened if you have this written down then you won't feel so nervous by trying to think of the answers, I think doctors appreciate you bringing in written notes they realize that you are providing them with accurate information, just relax and know one thing he puts his clothes on the same way the rest of us do and another thing he is only a man you pay him I don't mean to sound nasty but don't allow yourself to feel anything less than you are, you are sick and you need his help be sure even if you need to write it down give him a drug history of what you have taken and what does and what does not work for you, tell him your allergies, write down a brief family history if he asks something that you can't remember (you are bound to forget something tell him hoestly so much has happened that you have forgotten,
I hope some of these have at least given you ideas of ways to approach him please know that we are behind you and we don't expect you to fail, you take it easy make notes aheadof time and you will be fine We care about you!!!
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