Describing your pain can be like trying to explain what the color purple looks like. Only describing pain is harder since you don’t have anything you can visualize for someone else. Whether your pain just happened due to an injury or it comes and goes almost every day, being able to clearly define it for your doctor is important for healing. We will give you some guidelines for how to start a conversation about managing your chronic pain.
What Pain Tells Us
Pain tells us something is wrong, off, or some part of our body is not working as it should. It’s a warning signal.
After an accident or injury we experience acute pain. This type of pain may last until it is treated or linger for a short time afterward.
Chronic pain is different. Acute pain can become chronic if it is not treated properly and this type of pain can continue for weeks, months, or years. Chronic pain can be from multiple causes. It can persist after a surgery or injury. It can be the result of a medical condition like arthritis.
In order to get the most effective treatment for your pain, you must communicate precisely with Tennessee Valley Pain Consultants. You wouldn’t be here unless the pain was affecting your life.
Everyone feels pain differently, which is another reason you need to find a way to help your doctor understand yours.
Make notes ahead of time and explain the following:
- The first time you felt the pain or how long ago
- Location of the pain
- Does it radiate or move elsewhere?
- What, if anything, makes it feel better
- How it affects or limits your daily activities
- Is it mild or severe?
Choose specific words to describe how the pain feels: stinging, dull, throbbing, tender, stabbing, burning, sharp, radiating, tingling, nagging, or shooting. There are many many other ways to describe pain. Find the best ones for YOU.
Further explain how it limits your activities like the ability to work, focus, drive, clean, or bend down.
Are you avoiding activities you would normally do like seeing friends, getting up early in the morning, doing any exercise or even walking? Be as clear and concise as you can.
If the doctor wants you to describe your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, before you answer, explain what a 5 means to you vs a 9. This can be very helpful for your doctor to understand how you feel pain.
In order to start a conversation about managing your chronic pain, you must prepare and then communicate every detail to help your physician gain as much information as possible.
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This post was written by Tennessee Valley Pain Consultants