An estimated 16 million American adults deal with debilitating chronic back pain.  If you’re one of them, you are probably desperate for a solution.  Back pain may be causing you to miss work, skip family activities, and avoid exercise.  Before Dr. Duffner can treat you successfully, he must be able to correctly diagnose your problem.  To make the most of your upcoming visit with him, consider adhering to the following 5 tips.

Bring a Copy of Your Medical History

When visiting Dr. Duffner, you should always bring a copy of your medical history.  In order to make an accurate diagnosis, your physician needs to know about any past medical problems.  Your medical history should include a list of past surgeries and hospital stays.  When making this list, include the dates of the events.  Your list should also include the names of any medications you are currently taking.  Beside the names of the medicines, you should include the exact dosages you take each day.  Don’t forget to include the names of any dietary supplements or herbal medications you take.

Prepare to describe your back pain to Dr. Duffner

When Dr. Duffner questions you about the reason for your visit, you need to be prepared.  You need to describe your pain in expressive terms such as dull, sharp, piercing, numbing, or tingling.  These clues might help distinguish among possible causes for your pain such as a pinched nerve, a sprain, a slipped disc, or arthritis.  During the examination, you will probably need to be able to physically show where you are hurting.  If your pain isn’t isolated to one area of your back, alert your physician.  For example, you may need to point to your lower back, your hip, and your pelvis.

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Determine When and Where the Pain First Started

To determine if your back pain was likely caused by a sudden injury, Dr. Duffner will need to know when and where your pain first started.  If you’ve been dealing with pain for an extended period of time, this task might be difficult; but, it is extremely important.  For instance, try to remember if you were you lifting heavy boxes, playing football with your kids, or getting out of bed when the pain first commenced?

Determine What Alleviates or Worsens the Pain

Before your visit, you should determine what activities alleviate or worsen your condition.  For instance, some back pain sufferers get relief from gentle exercising while others find any type of movement intolerable.  You may feel better when resting in a recliner.  Or, you might be so stiff you can barely move after sitting for a prolonged period of time.  Finding out what triggers and lessens your pain will help Dr. Duffner determine the source of your problem.

Prepare to Rate Your Symptoms

Many orthopedic specialists ask their patients to rate their painful symptoms on a scale from 0 to 10.  If your back has been throbbing for days, you might be tempted to immediately respond with a 10.  However, you should only answer this question with a 10 if you are on the verge of passing out from your pain.  Carefully consider your answer to this popular question before your visit.  You might want to prepare a list of symptoms ratings while completing different types of activities.  For instance, when exiting a car, you might experience pain in the 4 to 5 range while turning over in bed might cause pain in the 7 to 8 range.

The onset of back pain can be a life altering experience.  Depending on the severity of your condition, you may not be able to carry out your normal daily activities right now.  Thus, your initial visit to an orthopedic doctor is crucial.  To improve the quality of your visit, adopt the aforementioned 5 tips.  The future of your health may depend on it.

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Here is a clip from the Ellen Show where she and Samuel Jackson discuss back pain. Dr. Duffner is one of the only surgeons in the valley who performs the procedure discussed in this clip.