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Can You Describe Your Pain?

By Donna Kostiew

Have you ever caught yourself in a situation where you felt unprepared for the questions that your chiropractor asked during your visit? When you are experiencing pain, can you describe how you feel without just saying the words “it hurts”? There are so many reasons why our bodies fight back at us, why we feel discomfort, why we hurt. Injuries, illness, degeneration, hangnails … the list can go on and on, but just saying that you hurt doesn’t really give your chiropractor enough information.

That’s because “hurt” is a catch-all term for a number of conditions that may make you feel discomfort or pain, but it does not necessarily help determine the cause.

Learning How to Describe Your Pain Effectively

My daughter has had nine knee surgeries, and I feel that we have become pretty good, maybe even experts, at describing pain in an accurate manner. These are the tips that we learned to follow pretty quickly.

Pain scale – Most doctors will ask you this question … “On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is your pain?” And although this is completely subjective (my level 8 might be a level 5 for you), this is an effective way for your chiropractor to gauge how acute or serious the problem is.

Timing – There are three components that we focused on in regards to “timing.” First, don’t assume that your chiropractor knows how long you have been dealing with the pain. Be as specific as you can with the date that the pain started. Second, keep track of how frequently you feel the pain and for how long. Does the pain occur all day, or does it occur at night and last for only a couple of hours? Third, take note of what you do that increases or lessens the pain and how long the pain lasts or stays away when this occurs. Does walking bring pain for hours on end? Can you get a couple hours of relief if you rest?

Location – Obviously, you will want to tell the chiropractor exactly where the pain has taken up residence in your body, but be specific. Your back can be a very big map for your chiropractor to navigate if you don’t know how to pinpoint the exact location. It also helps to describe where it hurts in relation to “depth.” Does it hurt on the surface or is the pain deep, as if it is in the bone?

Description – Adjectives, adjectives, adjectives! Don’t be afraid to use words such as throbbing, stabbing, dull, shooting, aching … when included with all of the other information, these can become important clues that your chiropractor will use to determine the source of your pain.

Nobody wants to live with pain, and nobody wants repeat visits solely because the correct information wasn’t shared at the first one. Learn how to describe your pain accurately so that your chiropractor can bring you some relief as fast as they can.

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

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