Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to first see your family doctor or a general practitioner.

Because there's often a lot to discuss, it's a good idea to prepare for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet or wear loosefitting clothes in the event that you have an imaging exam.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. For a suspected pinched nerve, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. They may include:

  • What are your symptoms? Do you feel pain, numbness, tingling or weakness?
  • Where, specifically, are you feeling these symptoms?
  • How long have you been experiencing these symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • Is there an activity or position that triggers your symptoms?
  • Is there an activity or position that relieves your symptoms?
  • Do you have a job or hobby that requires you to make repetitive motions?
Jan. 02, 2014

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