5 Questions to Ask Your Sports Medicine Doctor

Five questions to ask your Sports Medicine Doctor before you leave the office

According to Dr. Jerome Groopman, many doctors make a wrong diagnoses 15 to 20 percent of the time, simply because they make snap judgements based upon the first few things a patient says. Studies have shown that any doctors listen to a patient’s complaints for as little as 18 seconds before making a diagnosis.

While it's important to be clear when talking to your doctor it's also important to ask these five questions before you leave your appointment.

What Is My Diagnosis?

Many people leave a doctor's appointment without even knowing what is wrong or only having a vague notion of the name of the condition. Be sure you understand what diagnosis the doctor is making before you leave the office. If you don't understand what this means, ask more questions or have your doctor write it down.

What Tests Will Confirm This Diagnosis?

With sports injuries, often you will need tests or imaging studies before your doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis. If so, asking a few questions before you have any tests done can help you understand what the doctor is looking for before he or she makes a diagnosis. 

Could It Be Something Else?

This simple question is often all it takes to remind your doctor to reconsider his or her diagnosis. If he has made a snap judgement, this one question generally reminds him to make sure the diagnosis matches all the signs and symptoms and hasn't overlooked or dismissed something that doesn't fit the initial diagnosis. This question helps remind your doctor to remain objective while making the diagnosis.  

Could It Be Two Separate or Related Problems?

This question may sound similar to the previous question, but it helps you doctor avoid becoming too narrow when making a diagnosis. If the diagnosis is a snap judgement, this question allows for the possibility that the initial diagnosis is correct, but it may not be the entire story. You want your doctor to keep an eye out for multiple or overlapping conditions, and this question is a great way to discussion that possibility. 

What Is My Treatment Plan?

Finally, you should leave the office understanding exactly what to expect in the coming weeks. You should also feel confident in your ability to follow the treatment plan outlined, and if you don’t you need to discuss this. You should also understand what you should (or should not) do, if you will receive follow-up treatment or other referrals, what sort of progress you should make, what to do if that doesn’t occur, and when you can return to regular activities. All these are opportunities to understand your illness or injury.

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