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Today I’m welcoming Jessica Socheski, a freelance journalist who enjoys writing about health matters.  Jessica wished to share some information with my readers about how to effectively communicate pain to your doctor or care provider.

8 Ways To Effectively Communicate Pain To Your Doctor

Clear communication with your physician is essential to receiving the proper diagnosis and treatment for your pain. If there is a lapse in communication between a patient and his or her doctor, even great physicians will have trouble diagnosing their patient’s symptoms correctly.

People who are informed and prepared will be able to relay critical details to their physicians and ask them the right questions in order to receive the best care possible. Here are some simple steps about communicating effectively with your healthcare professional.

 1.  Speak Up

When speaking with your healthcare professional, do not be shy about your pain. Inform your doctor as to why you have made the appointment and talk openly about any related symptoms to your condition. If you have been having chronic migraines, inform your doctor about the symptoms you have leading up to the migraine, the pain during the migraine, and any residual effects.

In addition, tell your doctor if your pain interferes with any activities such as work or leisure activities, and whether your mood changes with the pain.

2. Be Specific

Show your doctor where the pain is and be as specific as possible about its location and intensity. If your migraine affects a certain area of your head, do not simply express that your head hurts. Instead, tell what side the pain resonates in, if it affects your sight, etc.

3. Describe Pain With Adjectives

Since only you know right where your pain is and to what extent it hurts, help your doctor understand by descriptively talking about your pain. Here is a list of adjectives that might be helpful:

•aching

•throbbing

•shooting

•stabbing

•sharp

•tender

•burning

•exhausting

•penetrating

•numb

4. Rate The Severity

Use a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you have ever felt. Rate your pain for a period of time before your doctor’s appointment, noting when the pain worsens and eases. Some people find keeping a record diary is helpful to provide their doctor.

5. Track Your Pain

Tell your doctor whether your pain is periodic, occasional, continuous, or related to a certain activity. Be sure to explain when the pain is at its worst and when it is at its best, or if anything triggers it like food, sleeping, time of day, activities, etc.

6. Devise A Treatment Plan

Treatment varies for each person and each doctor. Your doctor might prescribe pain medication, or they might offer suggestions such as massages, yoga, or light activity. Be sure to talk about what cures you may have already tried at home.

7. Be Honest

Do not be afraid to disagree with your doctor. If what they are relaying back to you seems unrelated to your pain or symptoms, tell them. This can help them to adjust their diagnosis or explain their thinking to you.

8. Be Prepared

Write out or mentally review your questions or concerns in advance. This way, when it comes time for your appointment, you will not forget any symptoms to relay to your doctor.

In order for your doctors to be able to treat you as best as they can, you need to be able to speak with them effectively. Use these tips to better describe your pain.

Thanks, Jessica, for the great advice.

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