Since pain is unique to the person experiencing it, sometimes it can be difficult to explain. But in order for your doctor to determine the source of the pain and provide a treatment plan, it is necessary to describe your pain as accurately as you can.
Before talking to your doctor, ask yourself these questions:
1. Where on the body does it hurt? Can you specify a body part or does it hurt all over?
2. Where would you place your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being no pain at all, 10 being unbearable?
3. Can you describe the nature of the pain? Is it aching, burning, tingling, sharp, tender, pinching, throbbing or stabbing? Is it a sensation you have felt before?
4. Do you know the history of the pain? When did it first occur, and how often does it happen? Is the intensity always the same, or does it fluctuate?
5. What self-management techniques seem to make it better or worse? What at-home treatment methods have you used already?
6. How is the pain affecting your quality of life? Is it keeping you up at night or affecting your work or relationships? Does it affect your energy levels and appetite?
Your doctor will ask you questions like these in order to determine the source and seriousness of the pain and develop a treatment plan. Thinking through these questions in advance could help you find the best words to describe your pain, and hopefully lead to the most effective treatment and relief.