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Describing Your Pain Clearly

By Donna Stark

I have two daughters that, for very different reasons, struggle with chronic pain. And even though some days are better than others, their pain never really goes away. Over the course of several years, they have been to a countless array of doctors and medical professionals, and at every visit, are asked the same questions over and over again. Pain can be a hard thing to explain, can't it? It's personal. It's fickle. But worst of all, it's deceptive. It's rarely on your side, which is why it's important to repeat those answers over and over again because the people who are asking are on your side and they just want to help you find some relief.

Talking About Pain

Those who suffer from chronic pain long enough can seem like they really aren't suffering at all, and it's not because the pain isn't there (because we know it doesn't choose to go away on its own), it's because they simply learn to adapt. This can make it difficult for others to understand what is going on and the reason why it is so important to communicate clearly. Here are some tips on how to do so effectively.

Describing the Feeling

There are many ways to describe pain to your medical provider. Some doctors will ask for a number on a scale of 1 to 10, and others will ask for keywords, such as throbbing, stabbing, aching, and shooting, but all will ask for location and duration. So before you head to your visit, start thinking about how you will describe your pain and how you will effectively communicate it to them.

Describing the Timing

It's important to be as specific as you can with the date that the pain started, if you experienced similar pain before, how frequently you feel the pain, and how long the pain lasts when you feel it. It's also important to take note of the things and activities that cause the pain to get worse, or alternatively, the things that bring relief.

Describing the Location

Your pain can obviously be felt at its source, but it can also be referred, which means it is felt in one area of the body but actually originates from another. It's critical to describe exactly where the pain is felt and if it "moves." It is also very helpful to describe where it hurts in relation to "depth." In other words, are you feeling it on the surface or does it run much deeper than that?

Finding Relief

In order to help, your medical providers need to gather as much information as possible, so bear with them and answer those questions you've been answering for months. By being honest, open, and clear about what you are going through, they will be able to devise the best treatment possible for you!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Acworth, Ga.

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