How to Effectively Describe Your Pain Symptoms to a Pain Physician

Describe Your SymptomsIf you think it’s difficult explaining an automobile noise to your mechanic, imagine trying to convey your discomforts to a pain doctor. Depending on your condition and symptoms, it can be challenging; but the more effectively you can communicate your pain, the better equipped your physician will be to pinpoint the source of your pain and recommend the most suitable treatment option.

Many doctors use the ‘scale of 1–10’ method to assist you in expressing the pain you feel. Though this may be useful to some degree, it’s not an exact science because pain is subjective, and one person’s ‘4’ may feel like a ‘9’ to someone else.

For this reason, it is helpful to have an understanding of all the nuances relating to your pain experience; such as how long you’ve been in pain, how your pain is affected by certain activities, and what type of pain you’re feeling.

The best way to do this is to document your pain experience and arrive at your pain physician visit with notes in hand. Here are some questions to answer when describing your symptoms, and what you should keep track of in order to more accurately communicate your pain to your doctor.

  • When did your pain start? Did you first notice it as a mild irritation, or did it hit all at once, like a ‘ton of bricks’?
  • Where does it hurt? Is your pain concentrated in one specific area, or does it radiate to other parts of the body?
  • What type of pain do you experience? Is it sharp, dull, achy, burning or throbbing pain? Does it change throughout the day?
  • How severe is your pain? Is it mild enough that you can be easily distracted from it, or so excruciating that you can barely move?
  • What is the duration of your symptoms? Is it constant or intermittent, (i.e., does it come in short bursts or persist throughout the day or night)?
  • What other symptoms do you experience? Do you have muscle weakness, numbness, nausea or other discomforts?
  • Do certain activities, environments or ‘triggers’ affect the intensity and/or frequency of your pain? Do you notice more or fewer symptoms at work versus home, when the weather changes, when eating certain foods or when performing certain physical tasks?
  • How does your pain impact your lifestyle? Does it diminish your ability to function, interfere with your sleep schedule, trigger anxiety & depression or prevent you from engaging in specific activities?
  • Have you taken any medications for your pain? If so, has the medication helped to relieve your pain symptoms, and have you experienced any side effects from the medication?
  • Has anything changed since your last doctor visit? Are you experiencing new symptoms, changes or improvements to existing symptoms, or a difference in the frequency of your pain?

Remember to take a list of any questions you may have when you visit your pain doctor. Additionally, you can also find several convenient pain tracking tools on the American Chronic Pain Association website, that will help you provide an ongoing pain journal that you can share with your physician.

While you may not be able to describe every detail of your symptoms to a tee when you visit your pain physician, keeping track of as many specifics as possible will help to ensure the most effective, customized treatment plan for your individual pain condition.

Do You Need to Talk to a Pain Physician About Your Chronic Pain?

Florida Pain Relief CentersAt Florida Pain Relief Centers, we understand that your pain is as unique as you are. Our board-certified pain physicians are dedicated to treating each and every patient as an individual with an exclusive pain condition, and to find the best solution for reducing or eliminating your specific type of pain.

We will work with you to thoroughly address your questions and concerns, and to expertly diagnose your condition to recommend the most effective treatment plan for your symptoms.

If you are tired of living with chronic pain and want more information about options for minimizing your suffering to restore a better quality of life, contact Florida Pain Relief Centers today at 800.215.0029 or click the button below to set up a consultation at one of our clinics.

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