Failure to describe all your impairments to your doctors


You only have a few minutes with your doctor at every appointment. Your doctor is busy and may be in a rush. You are going in for an appointment for a condition you have had for years. You have already told your doctor about your symptoms. So, you feel that you don’t have to tell him or her again. WRONG! Tell your doctor again. If you still have back pain, and still can’t lift, tell your doctor.  Don’t assume that your doctor knows your back still hurts. Be specific when you talk to your doctor. Do you have shooting pain? Or a constant ache? Does rest or heat help? If you are specific, this will help your doctor prescribe the right treatment.  This will also document your impairment in your chart for your social security disability/SSI/LTD or veterans disability case. The same is true for mental impairments. Your doctor cannot see your mental impairments on an x-ray. The only way your doctor will know how you feel is when you tell him or her. If you have depression – how does that limit your daily activities?  Did you give up activities you once enjoyed? Did you give up socializing with friends? Do you lay in bed half the day? If you have panic attacks, write down how often you have them. Keep a journal. Show it to your doctor. The same is true for other symptoms. Keeping a journal, and bringing it with you to your appointments.

If you have a hard time describing how you feel, bring someone with you to your doctor appointments.  This is especially helpful if you have mental impairments.  Many people are too embarrassed to tell the doctor how they feel. It is not easy to admit that you have a mental impairment. A relative or a friend who sees you often may be better able to describe your daily functioning.






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