Seeing my doctor is stressful! I always have loads to ask and forget half of it.
I’m usually pretty confident but find it hard to stand my ground if my doctor has a different position. I know I am an expert on myself and my condition but it is hard to use that knowledge!

Meeting with healthcare professionals can be a key part of pain management; it is important that you understand what you want and need to know about your condition, and the treatment approaches you are using or are thinking about.

Before your appointment
Think about what you want from the appointment – when you are living with pain there can be lots of different issues on your mind.

This is an online communication tool for people living with pain, which helps you to identify what you want to communicate and creates a summary you can print and take to an appointment: click here

There might not be time to cover everything so it can help to know your priorities. Bear in mind how much time you have and be realistic about how many of the issues on your list you can expect to cover.

If your appointment is for a medication review, make a list of the medications you are taking (or bring in the bottles) including the doses and frequency of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as herbal alternatives, supplements and vitamins.

Find a friend or relative to accompany you to your visit. It can be helpful to bring someone to help you get across what you want to say, and help you remember and make sense of information you are given. Some people also find it helps with their confidence to have a friend or family member there.

During your appointment
If you have a checklist of questions or issues to discuss, use it!

Some people find it helpful to give one copy to the doctor and to have a copy for themselves.

If, by the end of the appointment, you haven’t been able to talk through everything you wanted to, flag this up to the doctor and ask about rescheduling, or if they think it’d be better for you to talk about those issues with someone else, how to arrange this.

Find out if and when you should return for another visit and clarify any next steps. Arrange a follow-up appointment if necessary.

Ask if you need to watch for any developments, or if there are any symptoms you should be concerned about and what to do if you experience them.

If you receive a new prescription, make sure you feel clear about how to take the medication, how quickly to expect an effect and what side effects you might have. Some people like to know what different medications do, and how they work – it is ok to ask!

Ask who to contact, and how, if you have questions or concerns after the appointment.