Choosing a doctor you can trust is important, but even with the right care, there are some things your surgeon isn’t going to tell you. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time and others they just aren’t things a surgeon can freely discuss with a patient. Of course, as a patient being as informed as possible is critical to getting right care. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest secrets you might not know about your medical care. This is a three part blog post, so check back to learn the rest and for now, keep reading to discover ten secrets your spine surgeon won’t tell you.
Secret #1: Always Get a Second Opinion
When it comes to back pain and sciatica relief, there are always multiple options. Getting a second opinion will open your eyes to new options and help you choose the right treatment plan. We recommend working with a doctor that is dedicated to helping you find relief and that will work hard to ensure that lasting damage from unmanaged pain is kept to a minimum.
Secret #2: Don’t Assume Your Primary Care Doctor’s Recommendation is Best
When you need a back surgeon, the first place most patients go is to their primary care doctor for a recommendation. Doctors often recommend specialists that they have a professional relationship with or may recommend a doctor because they don’t know of another one. Instead research on your own carefully and look for a spine care doctor that specializes in back pain relief.
Secret #3: Talk with Former Patients
It is always a good idea to ask to speak with former patients or to read testimonials if they are available. A former patient will give you an idea of the type of care you can expect from your doctor. Patients know everything from expected wait times for appointments to the quality of care you can expect after surgery. Former patients will tell you things your doctor will never tell you. Read our Testimonials.
Secret #4: Take a Family Member to Your Appointments
You may want to take a family member or close friend to your appointments. This will help your doctor to see you as a real person, not just another patient and will help you make informed decisions about your care. When you are worrying about your health, you may not fully understand everything that happens in an appointment and having someone else that was there to discuss your options with later can be invaluable.
Many patients worry about their surgeon, but pay little attention to the other members of the operating team. You may also want to meet surgical nurses, the anesthesiologist, etc. before your procedure.
Secret #6: Ask Your Doctor About Their Specific Concerns For You
Each procedure comes with risks, but you may be more susceptible to some risks more than others. Ask your doctor what their specific concerns are for you.
Secret #7: Mistakes Are More Common Than You Think
Mistakes happen and are probably more common than you might think. Make sure you choose a surgical team with experience doing the type of procedure you are going to receive. Mistakes happen, but they may be less likely when your doctor specializes in back or spine surgery.
Secret #8: Some Problems Can’t Be Fixed, Even With Surgery
Surgery isn’t a fix-all cure. Some problems can’t be fully resolved, even with surgery. Ask your doctor what type of recovery you can expect and determine if the pain of the procedure is worth the outcome.
Secret #9: Non-Surgical Options May Be Available
Surgery isn’t always the only option. There may be non-surgical treatments available as well. Sometimes trying these non-surgical options first is a good idea. If you see good results, you may be able to avoid surgery and if not, surgery is still a path you can take.
Secret #10: Not All Doctors Are the Same
One spine doctor isn’t the same as the next. You need a surgeon that is constantly learning, growing and evolving as procedures change ( Read our Research articles). A doctor at the top of their field will know the latest options for spine pain and sciatica relief.
There you have it, our first ten secrets that your doctor may not tell you about back and spine surgery. Keep checking back; part two will be available soon.