Considering joint replacement: information your doctor may need from you
Getting ready to see the doctor about joint replacement to relieve your pain? It's a good idea to consider, in advance, how you'd answer certain kinds of questions your doctor will ask.
- Where is your pain located? Please specify. (Examples: knee, hip, shoulder). Does more than one joint hurt?
- When did the pain first begin?
- What caused it (if known)?
- Has the pain gotten worse recently? If so, is it more severe, does it occur more often, or both?
- Does your pain get worse, or occur more often, when you do weight-bearing activities (example: walking), when you're at rest, or at night?
- What makes your pain worse? (Examples: walking, standing, carrying)
- What makes it better? (Examples: resting the joint, medication)
- Are you taking any medication for the pain? It's helpful to make a list of what you're taking (both prescription and non-prescription medications) to show to your doctor.
- Are you taking any dietary supplements? Here, too, a list can be both informative and time-saving. (Examples: vitamins or other "pills"' for arthritis, such as chondroitin or glucosamine)
- Do you limp because of the pain? If so, do you use a walking aid such as a cane or crutch?
- How far can you walk without support? With support?
- Can you climb stairs comfortably without assistance? Do you need to go very slowly and carefully?
- How physically active are you?
- What tests have previously been done to evaluate your joint pain?
Of course, your doctor will also ask questions about your medical and health history - be sure to bring with you as much of this information as possible.
Being ready with the answers to most or all of these questions will make your visit go more smoothly. It will also help you focus on what the doctor tells you about joint replacement.
If you want to download this list to write your answers and take them along on your doctor visit: right click here and select "save as".