Preparing for your appointment

You might first bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in inflammatory disorders (rheumatologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason you made the appointment, and when they began
  • Key personal information, including major stresses, recent life changes and family medical history
  • All medications, vitamins and other supplements you take and their doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.

For ankylosing spondylitis, basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing my symptoms?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there restrictions I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as:

  • Where is your pain?
  • How severe is your pain?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • What, if anything, seems to worsen or improve your symptoms?
  • Have you taken medications to relieve the pain? What helped most?
Nov. 01, 2016
References
  1. Ankylosing spondylitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Ankylosing_Spondylitis. Accessed Aug. 25, 2016.
  2. Yu DT, et al. Clinical manifestations of ankylosing spondylitis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 25, 2016.
  3. Yu DT. Assessment and treatment of ankylosing spondylitis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 25, 2016.
  4. Overview of ankylosing spondylitis. Spondylitis Association of America. http://www.spondylitis.org/Learn-About-Spondylitis/Ankylosing-Spondylitis. Accessed Aug. 25, 2016.
  5. Ward MM, et al. American College of Rheumatology/Spondylitis Association of America/Spondyloarthritis Research and Treatment Network 2015 recommendations for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis. Arthritis Care & Research. 2016;68:151.