Are you in Pain? Top Four Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Sponsored by DuPage County Health Department

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If you’re experiencing pain, it’s natural to want to head straight to the doctor’s office. However, it’s extremely important to have an open conversation with your healthcare provider about not only the best but also the safest methods to get relief.

Here are four questions to ask your doctor or dentist to help manage your pain safely, especially after an injury, accident, or surgery:

1. Am I being prescribed an opioid?

First things first, set expectations about what type of pain management you’re comfortable with. Often times, pain relief comes in the form of opioids, which have been proven to be highly addictive. If your doctor does prescribe you an opioid, ask to explore other options for pain relief.

2. If so, is there a non-addictive alternative?

If your doctor wants to prescribe you an opioid, ask if there is a non-addictive alternative. Studies have shown that the most effective medications for severe pain are not opioids, but ibuprofen and acetaminophen when taken together. Tell your doctor that you want treatment for acute pain and work together to find a pain management plan that works for you.

3. If opioids are necessary, is a short-term prescription possible?

When opioids are necessary, be open with your doctor about your concerns. Talk to your physician to see if it is possible to limit the length of time you take the medication. If you’re worried about taking an opioid, ask your doctor if a three-day prescription could be right for you.

4. Do I have any medical conditions, mental health issues or a family history that could increase my risk?

While anyone can fall victim to opioid addiction, people with a history of substance use or those who experience depression and anxiety are at a greater risk. Be clear and honest with your doctor about you and your family’s medical history.

It’s important to have a conversation with your doctor before you are prescribed an opioid. These questions can help guide your conversation so you’re able to decide on a treatment for pain you’re most comfortable with.