When was the last time you saw your medical doctor and really felt like all of your questions were answered? I’m not sure about you, but I alway leave with more questions than answers.

Oftentimes, when I see patients, much of the time is spent just answering questions that other healthcare providers won’t. Research pretty clearly shows the more involved you are in your health care, the better your results tend to be.

So without further adieu, here is a list of some of the most important questions you can and SHOULD ask your doctor at your next visit.

Side note: this list is based on dialogue that I frequently encounter. I am a sports chiropractor and the vast majority of conditions I see are musculoskeletal. That is my bias. This list not comprehensive, but is still relevant for your medical doctor.

  • Here is what Google said, what do you think?2q2
    • Information is so easily accessible. The internet is a freaky, amazing, unbelievable resource for anyone to use at their own will. When I see a patient, I already assume that they have googled their symptoms and have their own belief of what they think they “have”. Without going into too much detail, I generally like to have a short discussion about where you get your information from and what to look for when searching. Since there is so much information available,  and you don’t need a degree to write something on the internet, where you get your information is very important to consider. My bottom line recommendation is to be cautious of Dr. Google.
  • What is my diagnosis?
    • This may seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many patients I have seen that don’t know what some of their previous visits have been for. In some instances, knowing what your doctor is using as your diagnosis isn’t always helpful (ie. Depression, anxiety, etc). But, most of the time, it’s better to know that you have a quadriceps muscle strain that should likely heal in 4-6 weeks, instead of wondering if you have something more sinister that you found on Dr Google.
  • What can I do on my own to help my condition?
    • This is a no-brainer and needs no further explanation. The answer to this question should take a bulk of the time. If you can only ask one question, this is it…
  • Is this a normal condition that you have treated before? 
    • This question should be easy for your doctor to answer, but it’s very important to note for many reasons. In a world of specialists, this question might seem like a little bit overkill. But, under normal circumstance, it should lead to more organic questions and answers related to your condition. Their answer should be more than a simple “yes” or “no”.
  • When can I expect to feel better?
    • This is one of those organic questions that should follow the previous question. Most of the time, this question is difficult to answer because it is impossible to predict the future. But, if your doctor has experience with this condition, it should be fairly easy to give you a timeline of what to expect and when to seek additional care. 
  • How did this happen to me?
    • Knowing what is wrong is helpful, but it’s only part of the story. If we don’t understand the mechanism of your injury/condition, than it is difficult to understand how to prevent it from happening again. A lot of times, understanding how something happened is easier said than done, but with proper questions and answers, your doctor should be able to figure it out.
  • What types of exercises program do you utilize?
    • This might seem like a funny question to ask your doctor (do you even lift?); but knowing what types of exercises your doctor performs should be helpful in not only relating to each other, but it should help give you some ideas about your own health too.

Again, this list is not comprehensive, but should be helpful for you and your physician.