As we’ve said on the blog in the past, caring for your spine needs to be a collaborative approach between the patient and provider. Your doctor may have decades of medical experience, but you bring a lot of helpful information to the table as well, so if you’re feeling like you’re not being heard, it’s time to make some changes. In today’s blog, we share some tips for what you should do if you feel like your spine specialist isn’t listening to your concerns.
When Your Spine Specialist Won’t Listen
If you feel like you’re not being heard by your care provider, there are a few steps you’ll want to take to ensure you can feel like your concerns are being met.
1. Let Them Know – While it’s easier said than done to say “speak up if you feel like you’re not being heard,” this is the first step in helping the physician realize that there’s a problem. There are times that a doctor may believe they have the answer to your problem, and they might start tuning everything else out because they are excited about the possibility of a solution, and they may not even realize they aren’t hearing your concerns. The first thing you need to do if you feel like your concerns are being ignored is to speak up. A line as simple as “I appreciate all your help, but sometimes I feel like my concerns aren’t being heard,” is a simple way to start a dialogue.
2. Bring More To The Table – Sometimes patients feel like they aren’t being heard, when in reality, the information they are providing isn’t all that useful. Patients can absolutely be a pivotal source of information for the provider, but they may not know exactly how to convey this information effectively. Document some information or bring notes along with you to your appointment so that instead of saying “My back hurts when I move,” you can bring some more detailed information into the equation, like “My back pain is worst in the morning, but it tends to get better as I move. I’m currently taking Ibuprofen and walking for exercise to help with the discomfort.” Learn how to bring more helpful information to the table, and the doctor will typically be more engaged.
3. Be Concise – Doctors are busy, and your time is valuable too, so be concise when talking with the doctor. While there’s always time for pleasantries, if you get off topic too often or there are too many non-vital parts in your story, it can be easier for a doctor’s attention to slip. You’d want other patients to be direct and concise so that the doctor stays on schedule, so do the same for others. A focused conversation that goes on for 5-10 minutes can be much more helpful than an unorganized discussion that drags on for twice as long. Sometimes doctors can be long-winded too, so don’t be afraid to help us get back on track!
4. Get A Second Opinion – Finally, if you’ve spoken up, tried to bring more helpful information and have been concise and direct during your appointments, but you still feel like your concerns are not being met, it’s time to shop for a different specialist. A second opinion is common in the healthcare industry, so never feel bad for looking into other options if you aren’t getting what you need from your first specialist. At the end of the day, it’s your health, and you need to be heard.
If you want to connect with a doctor who will listen to your concerns and ensure you get the care and attention you deserve, reach out to Dr. Chang and his team today.