Help your doctor understand your pain

Because your pain is personal, it can often be hard for others to fully comprehend what you are experiencing. Explore some of the tips and tools we’ve gathered to help you more effectively communicate the unique nature of your pain.

Get your Doctor Discussion Guide

Download and print this handy tool for use before, during, and after your doctor visit. Track your pain, prepare for your discussion, guide the conversation, and become your best advocate.

Learn how to clearly and effectively communicate with your pain management doctor

Understand Your Pain Scale

  • Pain is personal, so doctors may use different types of pain scales to understand your pain
  • Pain scales can measure severity, duration, pain type, and emotional impact 
  • Be sure to understand what the numbers and descriptions on the pain scale mean, so you know you’re speaking the same language

Use Descriptions and Comparisons

  • Be descriptive in explaining your pain
  • Common terms are burning, aching, shooting, stabbing, pinching, or a feeling of pins and needles
  • Your description may help your doctor better understand the underlying cause and what is contributing to your pain

Describe Your Day

  • Tell your doctor what activities you could or couldn’t do
  • Talk about how your pain affects your ability to perform specific tasks or activities
  • This can give insight into limitations and may help flag any activities you should avoid

Track Your Pain

  • Use a log, journal, or mobile app—like PainScale—to regularly record what type of pain you feel and the severity
  • Track according to how often your level of pain changes (daily, hourly, etc)
  • Your doctor can look for patterns that may help better define your pain

Try the PainScale pain management app

For people like you living with pain, the PainScale app is a powerful tool that can help you keep track of your pain, learn more about therapy options, and generate reports that you can share with your doctor or caregiver.

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