Q. How do I talk to my doctor about the pain I am experiencing?

A.

Pain is a message your body sends saying that it needs help. Pain medications can offer you relief. But first, you’ll need to tell your doctor how you feel. The more accurately you can describe your pain to your doctor, the better your doctor will be able to help you. Rating your pain on a scale from zero (no pain) to 10 (worst pain) can be an effective way of measuring and describing your pain to your doctor.

To make sure you receive effective pain management:

  • Tell your doctor immediately about any pain you are experiencing. NEVER allow your pain to build up over time. Pain needs to be monitored and assessed at each doctor visit.
  • Write down any questions you may have about your pain and how to manage it BEFORE your visit to your doctor. And, be sure to write down the answers your doctor gives you.
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment. Having another person there who can give you emotional support, ask questions, and remember information can help you better address and manage your pain.
  • Be specific and describe your pain in detail to your doctor. Don’t assume your doctor knows how you feel. Tell your doctor what your pain feels like, when it is at its worst, and when it appears to ease up, if it does.
  • Keep a pain diary or journal. Record such things as when and where the pain occurs, what makes the pain worse, what provides relief, and how the pain affects your quality of life.

Remember, you are the expert on your pain, and your doctor is there to help you. Effective pain management is about teamwork. Get involved and be an active participant in your care.