If you’re one of the millions of Americans dealing with pain, you know how much it can interfere with your daily life. To complicate matters, managing pain is no easy task. Pain management specialists employ a wide variety of techniques and tools to help treat the root cause of pain, so patients can have a good quality of life. Learning how to accurately describe your pain is one of the best ways to help your provider help you.
Dr. Victor Mendoza and his team of pain management specialists at Vulcan Pain Management understand the impact of pain. Dr. Mendoza uses various interventional techniques to treat pain at the source, so you can get back to life. Because pain is subjective and varies from one person to another, it’s vital that patients accurately describe their pain to best guide their provider.
We discuss five ways to improve how well you describe your pain:
Tip 1. Keep a pain journal
Documenting your pain in a journal prior to meeting with a pain management specialist provides valuable information that can help you describe your pain and assist your provider in identifying triggers and limiting flare-ups.
The most helpful information to track includes:
- Daily activities
- Food and beverages
- Medications and supplements
- Pain rating
- Related symptoms
- Emotions and thoughts during, before, and after pain flare-ups
Tip 2. Focus on the sensation
Giving an accurate description of the pain sensation you’re experiencing plays an important role in helping your provider make an accurate diagnosis. Distraction is often the first instinct when feeling pain. However, it’s important to remain present and focus on the sensation so that you can describe it in detail.
Some common ways to describe pain are:
Tip 3. Understand the pain scale
The intensity of your pain and the degree of discomfort are crucial for your provider to know. A pain scale is a valuable tool that measures your perception of pain on a scale of 0 to 10. Think about your pain and see if you can rate it based on the following scale:
- 1 to 3: Mild and minor pain that’s noticeable and possibly distracting
- 4 to 6: Moderate to moderately strong pain that’s enough to disrupt your normal daily activities.
- 7 to 10: Debilitating, intense pain that prevents you from living a normal life
Tip 4. Describe your limitations
The way your pain limits your daily activities provides your pain management specialist with important information. Pain may prevent you from lifting things or bending in a certain direction. You may find yourself unable to stretch or bend certain parts of your body or have problems using your hands for things such as typing.
Tip 5. Keep track of when it gets better or worse
The times your pain gets better is just as important as when you’re in the throes of a debilitating episode. Is your pain worse first thing in the morning when you wake up? Does it get better or worse after certain food or medications? These are all things your provider needs to know. Your provider uses the information to make an accurate diagnosis and determine the best treatment approach.
From your first consultation to your last treatment, the pain specialist team at Vulcan Pain Management provides compassionate pain management care. If you’re in pain, visit one of our convenient locations in Birmingham or Montgomery, Alabama, for the latest tools to get your pain under control. Call to schedule your appointment or book online.