This is your back, and this is your body. If you are proactive and take charge, your decision-making will be easier. Different back pain specialists may have different approaches.
Patients’ needs vary and doctors are not mind readers or magicians. To get the best care, you must communicate with your doctor. Knowing what you need and what you want from a back pain specialist will allow you to build the best team.
Find Good Specialist To Treat Your Back Pain
People spend more time looking at major purchases like cars than they do checking in with their doctors. It can be more fun to research cars than it is to examine physicians. There are many online resources and detailed reports that can be used to review vehicles.
However, there are not as many resources available to evaluate physicians. It can be intimidating to confront doctors with questions. However, you have the right to know more about the experience and qualifications of those who are treating your condition. The best doctors don’t mind. These tips will help you find the right people to join your team.
Your primary care physician is the best place to start. You should get one if you don’t have one. Your primary care provider should be your first point of contact. Ask for recommendations from your family, friends, and coworkers when searching for primary care doctors or other health-care professionals.
This is made easy by online communities like Facebook. You can use your social media networks to receive referrals and advice. Ask around at work, church, and at family events. Ask people at work, church, and family gatherings what they like about their providers. Also, ask them what they would do differently if they had to see the back pain specialist again.
A person who has had poor outcomes from multiple specialists may not be the best source of referrals. While you can learn from their mistakes, it is more efficient to look for others in your social circle who have experienced a similar back problem and were able to treat it successfully.
You can create a list to help you filter out what you don’t like about a back pain specialist.
These are the questions that the National Institutes of Health recommends to you:
- Which doctor would you rather have?
- Are you more comfortable with a younger or older doctor?
- Is there a doctor’s office nearby? Is it easy to find? How easy is it to park?
- Are you part of a group? Or are you a sole practitioner?
- Who covers back pain doctor’s expenses if he/she is a solo practitioner?
- Is it possible to ask questions via e-mail or phone? Are there any fees?
- How many hours and days are they available to see patients? When can you make an appointment?
- Is he or she willing to accept your health insurance policy?
- Which hospital does the doctor work at?
You can add to this list any important information. You will learn more about the importance of seeing an internist or primary care doctor as your first step to getting medical care. It takes time to find the right doctor and build a relationship.
It’s like dating. Some people are great matches for you, and some are not. You want someone who is compatible with your style. Because you have certain parameters (such as the ones in the previous list), you can often weed out people quickly. Sometimes, you will only be able to tell if you have had several visits with the person.
Medical doctors are licensed. To ensure your doctor’s current license, you can check with the state’s medical board. Most states require that chiropractors, physical therapists, and acupuncturists be licensed and/or accredited. Below are some organizations that can help with information about the back pain specialists and their expertise.
Be aware that the term “institute” is a popular marketing term in spine care. Few “institutes,” however, are worthy of this title. Those that are associated with respected teaching hospitals and conduct extensive research also deserve it.
Although the terms “minimally invasive,” “laser,” “endoscopic,” and “arthroscopic” have their place, these terms are also industry buzzwords. These words are often used by companies to rank highly in search engines and bring them up on the first page of results.
You can check your certification status at the American Board of Medical Specialties, which oversees 24 specialty boards (www.abms.org), as well as websites like HealthGrades.com and Vitals.com. It is important to find the governing body for certification.
Many “boards” have no affiliation or screening criteria. Many patients have been harmed by dentists and surgeons who were “board-certified in plastic surgery” after attending a weekend course.
The ABMS can also be used to verify the certifying body. The ABMS does not recognize the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons. The ABMS does not recognize the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery or the American Board of Cosmetic Facial Surgery.
Plastic surgery is recognized by the ABMS as a distinct medical specialty. It has given its component organization, the American Board of Plastic Surgery, authority to set training and certification criteria. Other than the cost of printing the certificate, the criteria for membership on the other boards are very similar.
When you call a back pain specialist’s office, don’t be afraid to ask questions. These details may be well-kept secrets, or the staff should be able to tell you how to find them. You can find some of this information online.
You can also ask for the resume or curriculum vitae of the candidate. This is basically a longer document that contains more information than a resume. These are some key points you should know:
- What is the educational background of the back pain specialist?
- Are the specialists board-certified in their specialty?
- How long has the back pain specialist been practicing? What is the average time that the provider has been in practice?
- How many of the patients are being treated for back issues by the specialist?
- Is the specialist open to alternative or complementary back pain care?
Board-certified medical professionals are required to be board-certified in their field. The term “board-eligible” means they have not yet completed their credentials. Certified people have more experience and are better at demonstrating that knowledge.
Other health specialties have different certification requirements. Most associations have requirements for certification. The better, the more hours you spend studying, the continuing education requirements and the testing required.
Back pain specialists who are able to keep up with changing technology and their skills through continuing education are essential. This holds true for massage therapists as well as physicians.
These sites are the best for your search for back-pain-related healthcare professionals. To check the background of specialist, you can search for them or look them up.
- Acupuncturists (www.medicalacupuncture.org): The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture lists medical doctors who also do acupuncture.
- Chiropractors (www.acatoday.org): The American Chiropractic Association represents doctors of chiropractic medicine. It is the largest professional association in the world.
- Massage therapists (www.amtamassage.org): The largest organization representing massage therapists is the American Massage Therapy Association.
- Primary care and other providers (www.ama-assn.org): The American Medical Association is the largest medical society in America. Search for all types of medical professionals. You will also see results for those not affiliated with the AMA.
- Neurosurgeons (www.neurosurgerytoday.org): The American Academy of Neurological Surgeons has a public site where you can search for board-certified surgeons.
- Orthopedists (at www.aaos.org): The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has a list of orthopedic (bone) specialists.
- Osteopaths (www.osteopathic.org): The American Osteopathic Association is the primary certifying body for doctors of osteopathy.
- The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is the primary membership organization that represents and promotes physical therapy.
Once you have narrowed down your search, go through the filtering list to delete items that are not necessary but nice-to-have. This will help you narrow down your potential back pain specialists so that you can move on to the next step.
Questions And Answers
These are the key questions you should ask your doctor and others that your provider should ask. These questions may require you to schedule an appointment, but it is well worth it.
You can call the back pain specialist to make an appointment and tell them that you are interested in learning more about the provider. You can use the appointment to have a quick interview or to have an initial exam. However, let the provider know that you would like some time to ask questions.
You might find that the front-desk staff can answer your questions or offer to speak with you for a short time.
How to Ask Your Doctor About Health Care
Ask the back pain specialist if he or she treats your back condition. Also, inquire about the common complications. Ask if there are any other patients that the doctor has treated. Is the provider able to provide preventive health care? What is the provider’s preventive approach to health care?
You might also want to bring someone along if you have a complex medical condition. Ask the provider how they feel about it.
Ask the back pain specialist if they will provide written instructions. Also, ask if he/she has patient care brochures and aids that can help you understand your condition better. Back care education is crucial.
Doctors and other providers don’t have the time or resources to give you everything you need. They can, and should, point you in the right direction in your particular case. Brochures, instructional aids, and videos are just a few of the resources that healthcare professionals may have at their disposal. They can also tell you where to find them.
Good back pain specialists will also admit that they may not have the answer. You can find the answers you need by asking a provider to refer you or to other sources.
What Your Back Pain Specialist Should Ask You
If a doctor recommends at home treatment plan or medication, run for the hills. Your evaluation should include extensive questions and physical tests.
Your doctor and other back pain specialists should know how long the problem has been going on, what you have done to fix it, how much, and how severe. They should also ask how the back pain feels, how it affects your daily life, and how it impacts your work.
The back pain specialist should physically examine your back and assess your posture. All your responses and answers to physical tests should be honest. Tell your doctor if you need to have a drink to ease the back pain. You don’t need to be complacent. This is the time to express your emotions and physical needs.
Prepare For Your Visit
Expect to fill out a patient form if this is your first time visiting this back pain specialist. You can record the following information and keep it in your back pain journal. You can also place the information in your health records file. This information should be brought with you to your appointment.
- What is your current health history? Your current health history What is the nature and cause of your problem? When was it triggered? And what have you done to address it? Your back pain journal can be an invaluable resource.
- Your family history Find out the deaths of your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and great-grandparents. This is particularly important for young people. It is important for the back pain specialist to be aware of any back or spine issues in the family.
- Current list of medications, including any back pain supplements and over-the-counter drugs. Allergies should be reported to your doctor. You can also show your doctor any medication you may have. A well-organized list is preferable. Everyone should have a current medication history for any emergency.
A list of all procedures and surgeries This includes the dates and outcomes. The name of the clinic or hospital where the procedure was performed. The name of the healthcare provider responsible for it.
You Can Bring A Cheat Sheet, Take Notes, And Bring A Friend
It is normal to feel nervous and intimidated. It’s normal to feel nervous and intimidated. A notepad (or your back pain journal) can help you keep track of what you need the back pain specialist to know.
This is your school of life. This school allows you to refer to notes and cheat sheets. Take one if you feel you need a friend. They can help you communicate better with your provider and can also be invaluable in helping you remember important details about the visit.
Patients who are open to sharing their personal and health histories and willing to discuss any issues or concerns they may have are the best. They are also likely to receive the best care.
Be realistic about your expectations. While many people experience great relief at various stages, others do not. Lower back pain is a difficult problem to solve. Do not trust just any doctor who promises you a solution.
- Learn about the educational and professional background of your back pain specialist.
- Referring others is a great way to find a good back pain specialist.
- You can get better health care by being honest with your communication.
- Back pain specialist and doctors should ask lots of questions about you and perform a physical exam.