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Tricks for Remembering Advice From Your Doctor

By Chris Brown

You visit your local primary care doctor or chiropractor with a health concern. While evaluating, they relay medical instructions and lifestyle changes to improve your condition. It all makes sense in the doctor's office. However, as soon as you arrive home, you cannot remember any of the doctor's advice. This isn't an uncommon occurrence amongst patients and has nothing to do any mysterious mental decline. The problem is the doctor's office itself. Studies have found that those who performed relaxation exercises prior to seeing a doctor, remembered the doctor's instructions significantly better.

Why You Can Never Remember Your Doctor's Advice

The ultimate reason your doctor's advice slips from your brain involves the anxiety-producing associations invoked by a doctor visit. When stressed, memory formation is devalued by the body in favor of more survival-centric traits. A doctor's visit is typically not particularly relaxing and even the waiting room can stir up negative associations and stress. Once you are poked and prodded during your actual appointment, those levels can reach an all-time high. Not to mention, since the advice itself is related to a stressful event, your medical issue, additional memory-blocking anxiety comes into play. This all means that you remember less details when its most beneficial, during your visit.

How to Improve Your Medical Recall

Since the primary block in memory has to do with difficulties memorizing in an anxious state, relieving that anxiety is crucial to remembering what the doctor has told you. In a 2019 Memory and Cognition study, participants learned significantly more words after completing a 10-minute mindfulness relaxation exercise beforehand. Relaxations can be as simple as listening to calming music in the waiting room or focusing on your breathing. For example, researchers at the University of Michigan used an audiotape of relaxation and breaking practices to allow participants to retain more health information in a mock visit. Since remembering doctors' advice is all about reducing your stress levels, finding a medical professional that communicates in a positive, anxiety-relieving manner can also improve your medical recall.

The doctors and wellness coordinators at The Joint Chiropractic are centered around creating a relaxed and caring environment for patients. The Joint's wellness-focused environment is quite a few degrees more calming than the intensity of a traditional doctor's office and much more cost-effective. This reduced stress allows you to glean more from your consultation and is yet another reason to stop first at The Joint for wellness concerns.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Boise, Idaho.

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