To get the most out of your arthritis treatment, it is important to communicate with your doctor and other members of your team. Tell them about the symptoms you are tracking. Tell them when there is a change either for the better or the worse. Discuss if you are having any problems taking the medicines the way you are supposed to take them. Get clarification about anything you don't understand regarding the medicines you are taking.
Sharing your records can also help you talk about your needs. What do you need and want from your treatment? Sometimes you may need changes in the time you take your medication or in the medications themselves. Review your records to see if your treatment is working the way you expected. If it's not, use your records as an opportunity to ask or talk with your doctor about the following:
- Are my expectations about treatment accurate? How long should I wait to see results?
- Point out examples where you think some aspect of your treatment program didn't work. For instance, did a certain exercise cause pain?
- Discuss treatments that you found difficult to follow. For instance, you may prefer to use heat on your joints rather than cold. From time to time, your program may require fine-tuning.
- Point out any side effects you noted. Ask what you should do if you experience it again.