How to Talk to Your Doctor About Chronic Pain
A doctor is your best advocate in the fight against chronic pain. However, not all doctors are sensitive to their patients’ pain issues. Your physician must work closely with you to monitor and adjust your medications to properly control your discomfort. It is important to be open and honest and so that your doctor can help you.
Preparing for Your Appointment
You should take some time to prepare before you go to your appointment. Your physician’s office will ask you how bad your pain is at that moment. You will need to rate your discomfort on a scale between 1 to 10. Don’t exaggerate. Make sure to tell them how you feel when you are in the office. However, let them know if the pain comes and goes. Also, let them know if there is anything that aggravates it. You want to describe your pain as best as possible. You want to give them an image of what it feels like and how it inhibits your function.
Never use generic statements like “my back hurts.” Rather, use statements like “my lower back hurts above my waist.” Be descriptive. Does the pain radiate down the legs? This could be an important piece of the medical puzzle. Rather than only medicating the pain, the doctor may be able to fix the problem.
Open Up and Be Honest
Keeping a pain diary is an excellent way to really showcase what is going on. You want to show the doctor how this discomfort affects your life. Does your pain affect your ability to work? Do you function well on the job? All of these things should be documented in the journal. The doctor can use this journal to pinpoint the cause of the pain as well as point to a specific medication that can help.
Whether you are dealing with back, neck, head, or leg pain makes no difference—you need to get help. Being in a constant state of pain can cause other medical problems, too. With enough information, your doctor can work with you to find out the right medication, injection, or procedure that will help provide you with a pain-free life.