When speaking with your doctor about pain, be ready to answer a few important questions. To make the best of your visit, and have time for your own questions, note down the following:

  • Where is your pain? This is easiest to answer but don’t forget to tell your doctor if the pain moves to other areas.
  • Describe your pain. Is it sharp, dull, aching, burning, stabbing, throbbing or heaviness?
  • How long have you had the pain? Is it acute (<3 months) or chronic (>3 months)?
  • How bad is the pain? Doctors will usually ask on a scale from 0-10. This helps both quantify and track your pain over time. Do your best to judge this appropriately: 1 is a paper cut and 10 is “please shoot me now.”
  • What makes the pain better or worse? Include the time of day, sleep, activity, body position, medicines you are taking, stress or
    even meals.
  • Previous treatments? Make a list of medications with dosages and how long you used that medicine. List of therapies (physical therapy, chiropractor, steroid injections etc.) with number of visits, if they helped or not and for how long.

TIP: Writing down at the end of each day when a pain occurred or how a therapy worked is the most accurate way to share with your doctor. Go prepared!

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