Doctors may be experts on medical matters - but YOU are the expert on your own experiencesYou and you alone, hold the key to explaining the very specific and personal way pain affects your body and your life.
You have a CHOICE and you have a VOICE.You must trust your health care team. If you don't you might not:
- share important information
- take what the team tells you seriously
- ask questions
- make your needs known
- feel comfortable enough to ask questions about topics that are sensitive or even embarassing
Not comfortable with your health care team?
- Talk to your parents about why you don't feel comfortable
- Ask a parent to go into the exam room with you
- Ask for your parents' help exploring other health care options and choosing a new team you can trust
You must speak up about the medical decisions that concern you. Be an active participant in your treatment.
- Talk about your expectations for treatment and for your life with pain.
- Discuss options for tests and treatments with your parents and with your health care providers before making your choice.
- Make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Click here for link to Know Your Rights: You Have the Right to Ask for Information
- Don't be rushed into a decision. If you have questions, ask your health care provider for answers. Click here for link to Know Your Rights: Think Before You Act
Before you head out to that doctor visit, PREPARE!
You are part of the treatment team and that means you have a responsibility to provide precise information so the rest of your team can help you manage your pain.
Pain feels different for each one of us so it may be hard to describe. Click here for more helpful tools from the American Chronic Pain Association that can help you communicate with your health care providers.
Think about it!
Let's hear it for reliable sidekicks!
The Lone Ranger and Tonto ... Harry Potter and Hermione Granger ... Shrek and Donkey ... Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. It helps to have someone who's got your back.
Never is that truer than when you have an appointment with your health care team. It's probably your parent - but any trusted adult can serve as your advocate to:
- Be supportive of you and your needs
- Make sure your reports of pain are taken seriously
- Help you seek a second opinion when necessary
- Help you understand tests and medical procedures
Who's your sidekick? Trust that person and keep the lines of communication open.
You might never find a way to relive 100% of your pain. But you can manage it by improving the quality of your life, increasing your function, and reducing your sense of suffering.