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Preparing for your doctor visit

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?


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Review Date: 6/29/2011
Reviewed By: 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.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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