Knowing the types of questions that your doctor may ask can help you feel more prepared. See the list below to get a sense of what information will be important to your doctor. Your answers to these questions will help your doctor figure out next steps -- for example, what treatment is best, what tests to order, if you need to see a physical therapist, if you need to see a specialist. You can make your visit more efficient if you think about your answers before going to the doctor.
- Did you have a particular injury or accident?
- Have you ever had back pain before?
- How long have you had the pain this particular time?
- What were you doing just before the pain began? Were you lifting or bending? Sitting at your computer? Driving a long distance?
- If you have had episodes of back pain in the past, how often do you tend to get them? How long does each episode usually last?
- What does the pain feel like? (For example, is it dull, sharp, throbbing, or burning?)
- What makes the pain worse?
- What makes the pain feel better?
- Is there any particular time of day when the pain feels better or worse?
- Do you have any numbness or tingling?
- Have you noticed any weakness in your legs?
- Have you lost weight recently without trying?
- Have you had a fever?
- Do you have any urinary symptoms like going to the bathroom more often than usual? Do you have a burning sensation when you urinate?
- Have your bowel habits changed?
- Has there been a change in your walking or ability to balance?
Andrew W. Piasecki, MD, Camden Bone and Joint, LLC, Orthopaedic Surgery/Sports Medicine, Camden, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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