My article originally published December 30, 2019 in National Pain Report.
Chronic pain appointments can be difficult for both doctors and patients.
For patients, doctor visits can be intimidating and create anxiety. We want validation of our pain, empathy, answers, and support.
For doctors, chronic pain patients can be more challenging to treat than other patients. We can be demanding of their time, attention, and patience.
While they genuinely want to help, doctors often have limited training (typically only 11 hours of pain education in medical school); limited time (typically only 15-20 minutes per appointment); limited options due to government, health system, and insurance guidelines; and limited internal resources to treat chronic pain patients.
So how do you make the most of your appointment time and get the best treatment when you visit the doctor?
Below are 23 suggestions to help maximize the patient-doctor experience (thanks to the many ideas provided by members of the Chronic Pain Champions – No Whining Allowed Facebook support group):
Before the appointment
At the appointment
To get the best treatment from your doctor, be prepared, calm, engaged, insightful, and open to self-care. It’s harder for doctors to treat patients who are negative or expect the doctor to fix all their problems.
I hope you find these tips helpful.
Tom Bowen is a chronic pain patient who turned into an advocate, educator, and collaborator.