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?