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Learning to Communicate Better with Your Doctor

Many people do not communicate well with their doctor. Part of a doctor’s training involves learning to elicit important information from patients and listening carefully to what they have to say. The patient also has a responsibility to themselves more specifically to their overall health and well-being. What does this have to do with applying for Social Security Disability? As written previously in the blog the Social Security Judge will very carefully review your medical records. It is not common to have your doctor actually testify at the hearing. If your medical records do not accurately and fully detail your illnesses, conditions, or ailments the Judge likely will rule against you.

So what should you do? First is to prepare for your appointment at least one day before. Sit down at your kitchen table or other comfortable place with paper and pen. Ask yourself some questions and write down the answers. Here are just two common areas where people can often communicate better with their doctor.


Are you having any side effects from any medications? How often and how bad are the side effects? Are the medications helping what they are meant to help? Are they helping not at all, very little, somewhat, a good amount of the time, or nearly all the time?

Overall Well-Being/Well-Being

Doctors will often ask how you have been doing since your last appointment. Sometimes they will ask you to rate how you are feeling on a scale of 1 to 10 overall. A range of answers could be Very Poor-Poor-Fair-Good-Very Good. Don’t stop there though with your doctors because in some aspects of your health and life you could be doing very good and in others poor. For example you could be doing very well with your back pain but poor with your migraines. If something like this is the case provide details to your Doctor.

At all times you should be completely honest and forthcoming with your Doctor and any of your healthcare professionals. This way you can get the best care and the best case possible can be presented to Social Security.

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