Talking to Your Doctor About Chronic Pain

Talking to Your Doctor About Chronic Pain

Sometimes, it is hard for people to express their feelings in a way that everyone else can understand. For chronic pain patients, this is extremely true. Symptoms of chronic pain conditions are often subjective, differing from patient to patient even when patients have the same diagnosis.  Understanding pain and treating conditions with compassion and integrity are virtues that Dr. Sial, Dr. Kelling, and Dr. Fisher hold near and dear to every patient appointment.

At American Spine, our board certified pain specialists continue to search for the best pain practices, ensuring that their board certifications are continually renewed. With four locations in California, American Spine is the best pain management facility on the west coast.

Emotional expression isn’t a piece of cake. You may think that your symptoms are black and white and then you go into an appointment and can’t seem to find the right words to correctly depict the characteristics of your pain. The first thing patients should do is be prepared for every appointment. Write down exactly what you want to tell your doctor ahead of time. Make two copies (one for you and one for your doctor) so you can take notes and save for your records when you return home.

If you have an upcoming appointment with one of the physicians at American Spine, review these 5 common pain questions and how to answer them:

  1. Where are you having pain? The more specific and thorough you are the more accurately your doctor can design an effective treatment plan. Simply saying, “my back hurts” is not detailed enough. Instead tell your doctor, “I have back pain that travels into my hip and down the back of my leg.”
  2. When do you experience the pain? Telling your doctor that you have pain 24/7 is hard to decipher. If you have worse pain in the morning, describe that. Explain what movements or activities exacerbate your pain.
  3. What kind of pain are you having? Does your pain feel like stabbing?; or aching?; or shooting? This information is more important than people realize.
  4. How bad is the pain? Use a pain scale to describe your pain (0= no pain, 10= the worse possible pain). Moving forward with treatment, your physician will ask you to rate your pain to determine if treatment is working.
  5. How does your pain affect you? At American Spine, one of our goals is to give patients their lives back. If you are unable to cook in the kitchen because your pain is so bad, let us know! At the end of treatment, we want you to say, “I can cook for my family again!”

Keep a pain diary and jot down your pain levels, limitations, or changes in health. This is helpful for both you and your physician. For more information on how to talk about your chronic pain, contact a specialist at any of our California pain management facilities today!

At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246).

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

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