You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in disorders of the joints (rheumatologist).
What you can do
- Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason why you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down your key medical information, including other conditions and any history of injury to the painful joint.
- Write down key personal information, including any major changes or stressors in your life.
- Make a list of all your medications, vitamins or supplements.
- Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What self-care steps are likely to help improve my symptoms?
- Do I need to restrict any activities?
- What new signs or symptoms should I watch for at home?
- How soon do you expect my symptoms will resolve?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may leave time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:
March 20, 2015
- When did you first begin experiencing these symptoms? Have they worsened over time?
- Where is your pain located?
- Does exercise or physical exertion make your symptoms worse?
- Does anything else seem to make your pain worse or better?
- Are you having any difficulty breathing?
- Have you had any recent respiratory infections?
- Have you had any recent injuries to your chest?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
- Have you recently experienced a significant amount of stress or change?
- Are you aware of any history of heart problems in your family?
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- Phillips K, et al. Treatment of musculoskeletal chest pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 4, 2015.
- McMahon SB, et al. Thoracic pain. In: Wall & Melzack''s Textbook of Pain. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 20015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 4, 2015.
- Wise CM. Major causes of musculoskeletal chest pain in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 4, 2015.
- Frontera WR, et al. Costernal syndrome. In: Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 20013. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 4, 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. What are the most common causes of chest wall pain? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- McConaghy JR, et al. Outpatient diagnosis of acute chest pain in adults. American Family Physician. 2013;87:177.