Pain Management
Chart the Pain!
Prove it isn't in your head!

The stress of being ill has weakened your body and you are in pain. Your body is behaving like any machine. When a machine is used too often .. for too long a time .. without a resting and servicing period, the machine begins to break down.

It is not noticeable at first .. just a few creaks and squeaks. But pretty soon, the machine is going slower and develops problems that begins to affect its performance before it completely breaks down.

This is what your body is doing; it is trying to get your attention. The pain is not only aggravating, it is a big warning sign. It is your body telling you it needs a break. It is your body telling you there is something wrong that needs to be fixed.

Never ignore a pain that comes on suddenly or continues to get worse. Ignoring the problem does not make it go away. The problem just continues to worsen.

Now, how do you get your doctor to believe you are in pain? Just as you would describe a problem with your car to a mechanic, you must describe the pain you are having to your doctor.

If you give an accounting of pain that is general and vague: "I just hurt doc!", you will get a diagnosis and treatment plan that is general and vague: "Take some tylenol and see if it gets any worse."

You know it is worse NOW .. that is why you are at the doctor's office. BUT your doctor is NOT a mind reader and cannot treat your pain unless he knows exactly how the pain is affecting your lifestyle.


Chart Your Pain

What kind of pain is it? Is it burning, sharp, dull, aching, numb, tingling, stabbing, or shooting?
On a scale of 1 to 10, with ten being the worst pain you have ever had, rate your pain.

Where is it on your body?
Does the pain travel or does it stay in one place?

How long have you had the pain?
Does it come and go? Or is it there all the time?

Do you know what caused it or what makes it worse?
Do certain movements make it worse, or help relieve the pain?

Does the pain get worse in the afternoon? Or does it stay steady all day long?

Is the pain affecting your sleep? Are you sleeping more or less?
How is the pain affecting your lifestyle?

Are you more irritable? Is your memory being affected because of lack of sleep caused by the pain?
Are you becoming depressed because the pain is limiting your ability to function in your job?

The only way your doctor can diagnose your pain is to relive the pain through your charting ability. If you cannot explain to him about the pain, how do you expect him to treat the pain?

Be precise in your charting. Use short specific answers.

Do not be surprised if your doctor orders other tests, such as blood work, xrays, an EKG, or other diagnostic tests before treating your pain. Your doctor may even send you to a specialist. This is normal and shows the doctor is diligent in finding the right treatment for you. You do not want to be treated for indigestion when what you are having is a gall bladder or heart attack.

Be patient. Do not expect a diagnosis the first office visit, but do not let the doctor ignore your concerns either.
 


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© 1998 - 2004 Brenda "Rion" Sewell

brendarion at cfl.rr.com