Getting a Second Opinion

When it comes to addressing back or neck pain, it’s not a bad idea to ask for a second opinion.  For many patients, to experience unidentifiable and sometimes excruciating pain is not only debilitating, but treating it is scary.  It’s a whole new world.  Our doctors understand that, and although they treat symptoms such as yours, on a regular basis, if it’s new to you, you need to learn as much as you can about your condition.  Learning about the treatments that are available to you and choosing which one is right for you, is ultimately up to you.

Will this offend my doctor?

When it comes to invasive procedures, including surgery, if you have reservations or concerns, your doctor may want you to seek out a second opinion.  For those in medicine, seeing another specialist or practitioner is another opportunity for you, the patient, to learn about your condition and your options.  Your doctor may even suggest another specialist for you to see.  As you learn more about your condition, you are able to ask better questions and participate more in your health care.

What if the opinions differ?

That can happen and when that does, it’s your opportunity to find out why.  There may have been different tests run which made the doctors reach different decisions regarding your care.  Or, perhaps the doctors come from different training backgrounds, have different technology available to them, which would lead to different conclusions.  Regardless of the different outcomes, you are learning more about what is available to you, as a patient, in moving forward to find the best solution for you.

Will insurance cover my costs?

Insurance plans are different, it is best to check with your insurance provider, not the doctors’ office, to learn if and how much of a second opinion might be covered.  Some doctors offices may not take your insurance or be an out-of-network provider.  It’s best to be proactive and call your insurance provider so you know exactly what is covered and what is not, including lab work or testing that may be required for a second opinion.

Once your decision is made

Once you have decided which doctor will perform your procedure or surgery, be sure that doctors’ office has all your medical records, images and test results that are needed to get you headed on the road to recovery.  It’s your right to have copies of your medical records and to ensure that they are where they need to be for your appointment, you might consider hand carrying them to that appointment.