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Tips for Talking to Your Doctor About Arthritis
9/28 16:28:30

A checkup with your doctor provides the perfect opportunity to bring up new health concerns.

Tips for Talking to Your Doctor About Arthritis

A checkup with your doctor provides the perfect opportunity to bring up new concerns about your arthritis and your overall health. But all too often, patients don’t tell their physicians enough. According to a review of literature on doctor-patient communication published in the Ochsner Journal and reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, better doctor-patient communication can lead to better treatment. Here’s how you can get more out of your next doctor's appointment.

Know what's normal and what's not

Everyone experiences occasional aches and pains. A stiff neck from sleeping in an awkward position or sore muscles from exercising can usually be managed with a day or two of rest. But there are certain pains you shouldn't ignore.

Take note when your joints are swollen, red, warm to the touch, or painful. If these symptoms don't go away within three days or you experience several of these flare-ups within a month, the Arthritis Foundation suggests you call your doctor. You know your body better than anyone else, and if something doesn’t seem right, don't hesitate to make an appointment sooner.

Bring in a list of symptoms

Have you ever had a conversation with someone, walked away, and realized you forgot to mention something important? This probably happens to everyone. While you may be able to pick up the phone and call your friend, it's not always as easy to contact your physician. Plus, your doctor needs all the pertinent information about your health issues at your appointment to make a proper diagnosis.

Write down your symptoms and questions, and bring the list to your doctor's appointment. You can read the list or hand it to your doctor. It’s also a good idea to write down your doctor’s advice, so nothing is forgotten.

Be honest with your doctor

Doctors aren’t mind readers. They can’t help you if they don’t understand how well you’re following their recommendations. Fight the temptation to conceal the truth. For example, maybe you haven’t been taking your medicine as directed. Or maybe you’re under stress at work and haven’t been making it to the gym for the exercise the doctor recommended. Tell your doctor honestly how compliant you’ve been, and whether events in your personal life are affecting your health. That way, he or she can recommend adjustments in your treatment. For instance, if getting out of the house for exercise is proving too difficult, your doctor may suggest you follow a workout video at home.

For more on your relationship with your doctor:

How to Question Your Doctor's Recommendation
Dangers of Self-Diagnosis: Let Your Doctors Do Their Job
Prepping for Your Doctor's Appointment: Have Three Main Questions

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