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3 Tips to Effectively Explain Your Chronic Pain to Your Doctor

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

Are you tired of leaving the doctor's office confused, frustrated, or worse, upset thinking that your doctor doesn't understand the pain you have been experiencing?

Keep reading this blog to learn three tips that will help you effectively explain your pain levels so that you can get the answers and explanations you want and need!

The Typical Doctor's Visit

Usually, at the beginning of a doctor's visit, the doctor asks, "how are you and what is your pain level today on a scale from 1 to 10?" You give your answer to your doctor, and he/she simply replies by nodding while recording the answer down in a chart.

The doctor then asks, "where are you feeling pain? And what type of physical sensations are being experienced?" You then describe the pain you feel at the moment and maybe even refer to a few general examples of when you felt an increase in pain in the last few days.

By providing this information, you felt like you did a good job and gave enough details for your doctor to find a solution to solving the mystery of your chronic pain. But, that doesn't end up being the case. Does it?

Here's what's wrong:

  1. Remembering each increased pain episode over the last month in detail is seemingly impossible.

  2. You need a sufficient amount of data about your chronic pain experiences to provide to your healthcare providers. Otherwise, they are left to suggest generic treatments that typically work for the general population.

  3. There is not just one pain scale, but two that need consideration. The first pain scale identifies the physical sensation you are feeling (burning, tingling, sharp, etc.) and the level of pain (1-10). The other pain scale describes your emotional response (sadness, anxiety, scared, in control) to this physical sensation (1-10).

Here's why:

  1. In a study done by the University of Alberta, researchers "confirmed that chronic pain doesn't just cause physical discomfort; it can impair your memory and concentration" as well. If this is true, then trying to give your doctor a valid description of your pain experience is impossible!

  2. By recording more data about your pain experiences (time of day, sleeping habits, stress levels, and activities performed), your doctor can better understand the conditions of your pain.

  3. Physical, emotional, and mental pain all have different types of techniques, treatments, and medications. Combining these experiences into one pain scale does not effectively relay enough information to your healthcare provider to make the best suggestions to treat your chronic pain.

Key Point's to Take Away

So, what's the moral of the story? Your doctor is a doctor, not a psychic!

Your doctor won't be able to guess each obstacle that you face physically, emotionally, socially, or mentally due to chronic pain unless you tell him/her!

It's true that for some people, documenting and talking in-depth about your pain seems stressful and maybe even depressing. For others, pain does this funny thing where it makes people feel too exhausted and frustrated to spend time even talking about pain.

Chronic pain is not just a number and a spot you can point to, nor can it be successfully managed by ignoring the emotional, mental, and social aspects of chronic pain.

If this blog resonated with you in some way, try to begin preparing for your next doctor's visit by incorporating these three tips into your life daily!

Feel like you need more support? Click this link to book a free 15-minute call with pain management coach Amari Dior!

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