Pain can sometimes be difficult to explain and diagnose because it’s unique to the person experiencing it. In order for your doctor to determine the source of the pain and provide a treatment plan, it’s necessary to describe your pain as accurately as you can.

Before talking to your doctor, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Where on the body does it hurt? Can you specify a body part or does it hurt all over? Does the pain move from one part of your body to another?
  2. Where would you place your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being no pain at all, and 10 being unbearable?
  3. Do you have any other symptoms when you experience the pain, such as sweating or vomiting?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. What self-management techniques seem to make it better or worse? What at-home treatment methods have you used already?
  7. 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. This will help them develop a treatment plan. Thinking through these questions in advance could help you find the best words to describe your pain. Hopefully this will lead to the most effective treatment and relief.