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Editor’s note: This article was written based on my experience and what I have researched about the topic. Everyone is different. The decision to use supplements should be a decision between doctor and patient.
As part of the week-long Mayo Clinic fibromyalgia program I attended in 2016, I met with a pharmacist to review the long list of prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, and supplements I was taking at the time. My medicine cabinet looked like a GNC store.
I was instructed to bring the actual bottles with me to the appointment, so I packed the bottles into a gym bag (yes, I was taking a lot of medicines and supplements) and went to see her.
I was surprised as she read each bottle, making comments and recommendations about each pill – including product quality, labeling issues, ingredient safety, and dosing.
When the appointment ended, my medicine and supplement list was much shorter with her recommending stopping most of the supplements and my gym bag much lighter – throwing away the pills was going to stop taking.
Unlike prescription or over-the-counter drugs, which must be approved by the Federal Drug Agency (FDA) before they can be marketed, the FDA doesn’t review supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are sold.
We don’t know where the products are made, how they are made, what is in them, and if the dosage is appropriate.
Safety is left up to the manufacturers and distributors of the supplements.
You assume all risk when using supplements. While some may be valuable, many aren’t.
Chronic pain appointments can be difficult for both patients and doctors.
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 truly want to help, doctors often have limited training (typically 11 hours of pain education in medical school), limited time (18.5 minutes per appointment), as well as limitations due to government and insurance guidelines.
So, how do you make the most of your appointment time and get the best treatment when you visit with 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 taking more self-responsibility for your own care. It’s harder for doctors to treat patients who are negative or who expects the doctor to fix all of their problems.
I hope you find these tips helpful.
Up to 79% of chronic pain patients are unsatisfied with their pain management.
In this article I wrote for Practical Pain Management, I shared 10 patient-centered communication tips that I have found over the years to work in developing strong patient-provider relationships, improving outcomes, and strengthening compliance with treatment plans.
Check out the whole story.
Doctors often ask what our pain score is on a scale of 1-10. But is the pain scale a true measure of our pain? And is it helpful?
I contend we're more than a pain number. We're humans with feelings, emotions, and social interactions. A number on a pain intensity scale doesn’t capture our struggle with pain. And it’s often the struggle with pain that is worse than the pain itself.
Below is a research article that explore is asking us about pain tolerance might be more helpful than asking for a pain score. I hope you enjoy reading it.
Medical appointments can be stressful enough without having to remember our medicines and medical histories.
Download these templates:
Chronic Pain Champions is an information resource/blog/support group to help chronic pain patients, their families, and friends, as well as healthcare professionals. Learn more about this site and the author.
Chronic Pain Champions