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.
  • 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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Last Review Date: 2018 Sep 10
  1. Back Pain. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
  2. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
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