How to Evaluate if You Have a Good Doctor for Your Chronic Pain Condition

Posted by Jena Ann on Fri Jun 29th, 2018 at 10:09 am

What defines a good doctor for chronic pain?What Defines a Good Doctor? What Defines a Bad Doctor?


Finding a good doctor to help with chronic pain or a chronic illness is rather challenging. I read all the time about people with a chronic illness who are not only dissatisfied with their doctors, but are hurt and enraged with some of the horrible comments their doctors have made. These doctors are usually conventional (western) medicine doctors. But really any doctor can be a bad doctor.


These stories of bad doctors typically go something like this:


Doctor: “All your tests came back normal you are perfectly healthy. Have a nice day.” (even though you are in unbelievable pain).


Doctor: “You just need to exercise more.” (even though exercise just causes excruciating pain).


Doctor: “It is all in your head, I can’t find anything wrong with you.”


Doctor: “Just take this medicine for the rest of your life.” (medicine isn’t working) “Try this medicine instead.” or “Take more.” (only medicine solutions are offered, nothing else)


It might be time to find a new doctor!

If you have heard your doctor say the statements above or something close to it, it might be time to find a new doctor for your chronic illness or chronic pain. Sure, this doctor might be fine for if you get a flu virus, infection, need immediate treatment, or if you break a bone. You don’t have to dismiss your doctor as being a horrible doctor because he can’t help you with your chronic pain. But, you might need a second doctor specifically for your chronic illness.


You are not going to ever get healed if you keep going back to a doctor that has no new solutions for finding the source of your pain, doesn’t believe you, doesn’t listen to what you are saying, or just tries to cover up your problems with medication. And yes, healing or improving is possible with the right doctor.


What Defines a Good Doctor?


A Good Doctor will get a full health history and learn all about your symptoms. They will take the time to listen to you as you share your pain story, and show empathy toward your pain. A good doctor will acknowledge whether it is something they can help with. He or she will answer questions about their experience with that health condition. They will also be able to show certifications and explain knowledge and tools they can use to help you. Then, do some standard tests and specific tests to find the root of the problem. After that, they will provide treatments and suggestions that will help to treat the root of the problem instead of covering it up with medication. The treatments should do more good than harm. A good doctor will answer all your questions and work with you to improve your health.


However, A Great Doctor Will:

  • Get an understanding of your physical, emotional, and mental symptoms
  • Learn about your lifestyle and give recommendations on lifestyle changes to help improve your illness
  • Have the tools, knowledge and experience to search for root causes and treat them
  • Have on the walls certifications, or will willing share their education, certifications, and experience working with your illness or similar illnesses
  • Show empathy for you, and try to understand what you are struggling with
  • They will be accessible outside of appointment times to answer questions whether by email or by phone. They will get in contact with you directly instead of sending messages through a front desk associate.
  • Be honest and tell you if they can’t help you, but make an effort to point you in the direction of someone who can
  • Explain exactly what problem you are dealing with, how they can help with it, and how that treatment plan will benefit you
  • Be open to answering all your questions
  • Do more good than harm. They won’t prescribe something that could have bad side effects and make things worse instead of better.
  • Create a treatment plan that is specific to you, not a one-size-fits-all treatment based solely on the symptoms you are experiencing
  • Give advice on your long-term health if they know of diseases you may be at risk for in the future
  • Empower you to make healthy changes
  • With each visit they will ask how you are doing and make appropriate adjustments when needed
  • Will respect your decision to see other practitioners and will work as a complement to your primary care physician.


Do Great Doctors for Chronic Pain Really Exist?

Yes, from what I can tell people who rely on primary care physicians (who don’t believe in or offer alternative treatments) are more often the ones with bad doctor experiences. This is as I’ve stated in previous blogs, because conventional doctors are trained to treat symptoms instead of getting to the root of the problem. Where many alternative practitioners find and treat the root problems causing the symptoms, instead of covering them up with medication. Many of the attributes of a great doctor above, I found from reading about naturopath and osteopath doctors, but also many other alternative treatment practitioners. I also figured out what makes a great doctor by finding one. Of course there are bad alternative treatment practitioners too, who won’t meet all or even half of the qualifications above. Or you might just be seeking out the wrong alternative treatment for your specific health condition. But, if you find a great doctor, they will likely know of another treatment you should try.  


So make sure to do your research on whatever healthcare practitioner you are thinking of seeing for your chronic pain condition. Use the checklist above or make your own checklist to evaluate whether or not you have found a good doctor, or quite possibly a great doctor. And most importantly ask lots of great questions like:


Have you helped people with my illness or something similar?

What education and certifications do you have?

How are the tools you are using effective? 

Will this help to treat the root cause of my illness?

Should I expect to see any side effects with this treatment?


Don’t forget you are in charge of your health, not your doctor or anyone else. So Take Control Over Your Health!  



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