Preparing to Meet with a Spine Surgeon or Spine Specialist

Doctor visits can be intimidating and - especially when you're in pain - it can be difficult to describe your situation in a complete, concise and accurate manner. However, it will serve you well to prepare for questions your spine surgeon or spine specialist is likely to ask in advance - this way, you can avoid feeling like you didn't tell your doctor something important during the visit. By providing complete and accurate information you can help your doctor arrive at an accurate diagnosis of your back problems and back pain.

Questions to Ask a Spine SurgeonPatients should consider preparing a list of questions before they meet with a surgeon.
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Video: Questions to Ask Your Spine Surgeon

During your first visit to a spine specialist or spine surgeon, a complete medical history will typically be taken. The physician will then review the history and related information and collect additional information during your physical exam.

Explaining Back Problems and Back Pain to the Spine Specialist

If it is your first visit to the spine specialist or spine surgeon, you will probably be asked several questions by the staff about payment, such as if you have insurance coverage, Medicare, if your injury is part of a worker's compensation claim, or involved in litigation or a similar situation. You may be asked if you will be able to pay for all or a part of your medical/surgical expenses if it is required.

It is important to be ready to answer the questions your doctor will ask or to fill in the details if and when asked. Basically, the better prepared you are for your spine specialist's visit the more productive it will be for you and for your physician.

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Tips for How to Respond to the Spine Specialist's Questions:

  • Be prepared to talk to the spine surgeon or spine specialist - read the list of questions in this article and be prepared to respond to them succinctly and accurately. Some people find it helps to write out their answers ahead of time, and to write out the questions they need to ask the doctor as well.
  • Be complete but brief when explaining to the doctor - be sure not to leave out any important points about your back pain situation, but try to be as concise and to the point as possible.
  • Be honest with the spine specialist or spine surgeon - the doctor is more likely to be able to help you if you provide candid information about your back pain and back problems. If some questions do not apply, cannot be answered or are too sensitive for you, be prepared to respond if asked - why? Privacy will always be preserved but some sensitive details may be very important to your diagnosis and care.

The following list of possible questions relate to issues that are important to your spine doctor in determining the diagnosis and type of care to be recommended for your back pain and back problems. Informed patients who can accurately and succinctly describe their situation to the physician play a critical role sharing in decision-making for their medical care.

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