5 Types Of Questions To Ask Your Spine Specialist

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Paraplegia Spine

We love it when a patient asks us questions. When a patient has questions about their health or their care, it shows that they are taking an interest in their treatment, and that can make a world of difference when it comes to treatment efficacy. If you want to be an engaged patient who is asking questions, but you don’t know what questions you should be asking, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at five types of questions that it’s often helpful to ask your spine specialist.

Ask These Types Of Questions To Your Back Doctor

Your spine issue is both complex and unique, so we’re not going to lay out specific questions that you should ask because they may not be right for your situation. That said, odds are you can come up with some questions that fall under the five umbrella topics that we’ll touch on that are appropriate for your situation. Here are those five types of questions to ask your care professional:

  1. Diagnostic Questions – Start by asking questions about the root cause of your back pain. Work to understand if you’re dealing with an acute or chronic injury, or if you’re dealing with a different type of health condition. Learning more about your specific back issue is the first step in working to overcome it.
  2. Treatment Questions – Once you know what you’re up against, the focus shifts to treatment. Ask what type of treatment options are available and which option your provider would pursue if they were in your situation. Odds are there is more than one way to treat the problem, and learning about all your options will ensure you make the right treatment decision for your needs and goals.
  3. Management Questions – Management questions are similar to treatment questions, but they focus more on some complementary steps you can take alongside your specific treatment plan to provide the right environment for your spine. For example, your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatories and bi-weekly physical therapy sessions as part of your treatment plan, but additional management techniques may include things like posture improvements, more low-impact exercise, consuming a healthier diet, working towards an ideal weight or giving up alcohol or tobacco. Ask your doctor if there are any lifestyle modifications to consider that could improve the efficacy of your treatment program.
  4. Prognosis Questions – Once you understand what can be done to treat your back issue, ask your doctor about your short- and long-term prognosis. Assuming everything goes as planned, how soon will you be back to a pre-injury or pre-surgery level of fitness? Will you have any long-term limitations as a result of your condition? How likely is it that your issue will be treated in full? Talk to your doctor about your expected recovery timeline.
  5. Follow Up Questions – Finally, before you leave the doctor’s office, make sure you understand when you’ll be seeing the doctor again for a follow up visit. Should you schedule that visit now, or should you call back in a few weeks? Perhaps you may only need another appointment if things don’t improve after 4-6 weeks. Ask your doctor when they should expect you to follow up with them to ensure treatment is going as expected.

And of course, if you have any additional questions that don’t fit in any of the above categories, don’t assume it’s off limits. We’re here to answer any and all questions you have about your spine and your care. For more information, or for help with a different spinal issue, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.

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