Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your back pain lasts for a few days without improvement, make an appointment with your doctor. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

  • Write down key personal information, including mental or emotional stressors in your life.
  • List your key medical information, including other conditions for which you're being treated and the names and dosages of medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
  • Note recent injuries that hurt your back.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

For back pain, questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is the most likely cause of my back pain?
  • Do I need diagnostic tests?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend?
  • If you're recommending medications, what are the possible side effects?
  • I have other medical conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • How long will I need treatment?
  • What self-care measures should I try?
  • What can I do to prevent a recurrence of back pain?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

  • When did your back pain begin?
  • Is the pain constant?
  • Does the pain affect your ability to function? If so, how much?
  • Do you have other signs or symptoms besides back pain?
  • Do you do heavy physical work?
  • Do you exercise regularly? What types of activities do you do?
  • How often do you feel depressed or anxious?
  • Do you sleep well?
  • What treatments or self-care measures have you tried so far? Has anything helped?
June 17, 2015