Often, it may not feel like you get an option when it comes to your doctor or course of treatment. But that’s simply not the case. Patients always have the ability to choose whether or not they want to continue to work with any one specific doctor. In fact, there are many reasons where it is is actually beneficial to seek a second opinion for your medical needs to make sure you get the best care and best course of treatment. Whether you’re unsure if you need a second option for your medical concern or you’re simply timid and don’t want to offend your current doctor, here are a handful of reasons why a second option could make a big difference to your health.

If your diagnosis is unclear.

While there are many things in medicine that are very clear, like if you have strep throat or a broken arm, there are other diagnoses that are harder to make and not nearly as clear. In fact, there are many different diseases and health conditions that can masquerade as other problems. This can lead to improper or ineffective treatments. If you have hesitations about your diagnosis or notice that your course of treatment isn’t helping you one bit, then it’s time to get a second specialized consultation and opinion.

If there are a variety of treatment options.

There are many different ways to treat most conditions or ailments. Even a sinus infection can be treated with a wide variety of medications. If you have a condition that has a wide variety of treatment options and you’re hesitant about the course of action, then it’s worth consulting with a second opinion in order to make the best choice for you. Perhaps you’re looking for sciatica treatment, and there are several courses of action that you can take, but upon getting a second option one treatment option becomes the clear choice for your specific needs.

If your first treatment option is risky.

Never ever work with a doctor that suggests surgery as your first option unless it’s truly an emergency situation. Surgery has a lot of risks involved with it and if there are other treatment options that are more conservative to try first, it’s worth taking the time to see if they help. You may find that the conservative options, like pain management or physical therapy, were all it took to help you feel better. Sometimes surgery is unavoidable, but always consider your other options that are available to you first.

If you’re not being heard.

More often than not, patients can struggle to feel heard when they talk with their doctors. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that a doctor spends less than 20 minutes with a patient in an exam room. For complex problems, this is hardly enough time. In addition, to just spending 20 minutes with a patient, the CDC also found that patients are regularly interrupted by anyone or anything over 12 seconds on average. This can make it especially difficult to get thoughts out that provide thorough and accurate information. This may be an indicator that it’s time to find a new doctor for your needs where you can feel like you’re more readily heard.