At Your Appointment

Back Pain Appointment Guide

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Ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Answer two questions below to personalize your appointment guide.
  • Please describe the symptoms and issues you’re having that led you to schedule this online appointment. Start at the beginning of this current episode and tell me how and when things have changed and progressed.
  • Has your pain improved since our last appointment? Has your pain changed in any way?
  • Rate your pain today on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain you have ever had.
  • Are you able to sleep well or is your pain affecting the quality of your sleep?
  • How are you feeling emotionally? Are you feeling sad, down or anxious? If so, how often?
  • What types of exercise and other physical activities are you able to do?
  • When did your back pain begin? Was it after an injury or accident?
  • Describe your pain. Is it constant or periodic, dull or sharp, on one side or both sides, upper or lower back?
  • What other symptoms are you having? Weakness? Bowel or bladder issues?
  • Is your back pain interfering with your ability to work, do daily activities, or sleep? How much and how often?
  • What makes your pain better or worse?
  • How well is your medication controlling your pain?
  • What tests and treatments have you had so far?
  • What new symptoms are you experiencing?
  • Do you have a personal or family history of arthritis?
  • Do you exercise regularly or do physical work?
  • What is most likely causing my back pain?
  • Do I need diagnostic tests to find the cause?
  • What treatments are most likely to help my back pain?
  • What side effects are possible with medicines for back pain?
  • Is physical activity likely to help my back pain or make it worse?
  • How long do you think it will take for my back pain to resolve?
  • Would physical therapy help my specific case of back pain? How many sessions might I need?
  • Am I going to need surgery to treat my back pain?
  • What lifestyle changes should I make to help my back?
  • When can I resume all my activities and how should I protect my back from injury or overuse?
  • How can I prevent future episodes of back pain?
  • Could a different medicine relieve my back pain better?
  • Could my new or different symptoms be related to my back pain or to some other condition?
  • Is my back pain typical or do you think it may indicate a more serious condition? Should I see a back specialist?
  • What specific precautions should I take to protect my back until the pain resolves?
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2018 Sep 10
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Back Pain. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369911
  2. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet