10 Tips for Building a Doctor-Patient Relationship 

Use these tips for talking with your doctor about joint health and managing your arthritis

1. Building Trust

A good doctor-patient relationship is built on trust. You understand and respect your doctor’s point of view. Your doctor, in turn, understands and respects yours. A successful partnership takes time and effort.

2. Make a Date With Your Doctor

See your primary care physician for a routine check-up at least once a year. If you have an inflammatory type of arthritis, see your rheumatologist as often as they recommend.  

3. Have a Goal
Talk with your doctor about life or treatment goals. Do you want to dance at your son’s wedding? Do you want aggressive treatment to try to reach remission? Do you want to be able to keep quilting? If your doctor knows what’s important to you, they can help you achieve your goals.
4. Fess Up to all Medicines
Be sure to tell your doctor about medications you are taking, both prescription and over the counter. Don't forget to mention any supplements you're taking, too. All medications – even natural ones – have the potential to cause side effects or to react with one other. 
5. Measure Joint Pain 
Take the Arthritis Foundation pain questionnaire. To better treat your pain, you and your doctor must first understand it – where it starts, how long it lasts and what activities make it worse.
6. Be Prepared
Write down questions related to your health as you think of them. Decide which are most important and organize your list. Take them to your next doctor's visit so you can remember what to ask.
7. Kick Butt
Smoking can make arthritis worse, speed up joint damage and make treatment less effective. If you need help quitting, ask your doctor for options. 
8. Be Honest About Your Struggles
If you’re having trouble with tasks of daily life – like bathing or getting in and out of the car or playing golf – tell your doctor. She may refer you to a physical or occupational therapist, adjust your medicines, or open a discussion about surgery.
9. Talk About Medicine Concerns
If you’re worried about side effects or the cost of medicines, tell your doctor. Many times, solutions can be found. Don’t leave the office for a prescription that you have no intention of filling or taking.
10. Do Your Homework
If the doctor prescribes medicine, pick it up at the pharmacy and take it as scheduled. If she says to ice your joint three times a day, do it. If your physical therapist prescribes daily stretches, do them.

Stay in the Know. Live in the Yes.

Get involved with the arthritis community. Tell us a little about yourself and, based on your interests, you’ll receive emails packed with the latest information and resources to live your best life and connect with others.