When to seek a second opinion
Neck and back pain are common patient complaints. Not so common, though, are patients who seek out second opinions after discussing the pain they’re experiencing with their physician.
But experts say second opinions can be incredibly important when it comes to getting the care you need.
“Second opinions are a powerful tool to help you make informed decisions about your medical care,” explains Dr. Nicholas Hempeck, a neurosurgeon at Aurora Medical Center – Summit. “Seeking an additional clinician’s opinion can ensure you’re receiving the proper diagnosis. It can also open doors to more treatment options.”
Dr. Hempeck frequently sees patients who are experiencing neck and back pain, numbness, tingling and/or weakness in the arms and legs. Sometimes, these patients have come to Dr. Hempeck for a second opinion.
“There are often multiple ways to approach a problem, and I like to present all of those options to my patients,” he says. “In the end, I want to make sure the patient is comfortable with their choices and confident in the decision they’re making for themselves.”
Dr. Hempeck says although you may feel uncomfortable getting a second opinion, it’s important to remember you are in control of your health.
“You should feel empowered when it comes to the care you receive,” he says. “Your health comes first. You and your care team should be working together to achieve a common goal – to improve your quality of life.”
Dr. Hempeck advises considering a second opinion about your neck and/or back pain in the following instances:
- Your physician does not specialize in neurosurgery.
- You don’t feel like all possible treatment options are being explored.
- Your health insurance requires a second opinion before receiving treatment.
- To determine if different surgical options/approaches are appropriate alternatives.
- To find a physician you are comfortable and confident with providing your care.
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About the Author
Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.