What NOT to Say to Your Doctor About Your Chronic Pain

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.

If your primary doctor cannot provide helpful pain relief options, you may need to speak with an expert. Marc Cohen specializes in minimally invasive procedures and has experience working with individuals of the New Jersey area to seek resolution to their chronic back pain. Contact the Spine Institute at one of our many locations to schedule your appointment today