Being in pain is . . . well, painful. But it can also be frustrating and annoying. When your pain is affecting your mood, your activities and your overall quality of life it’s time to talk to your doctor about your treatment options. But how do you explain something that’s so overwhelming? Follow these guidelines for ways to effectively explain your back pain to your doctor and get the treatment that you need to get back to normal.
Describe the Location
First and foremost, explain to your doctor where the pain is centralized. Where are you experiencing the pain the most? Does it start in one location and radiate to other parts of the body? Explaining the location of your symptoms effectively can get you one step closer to relief. It’s also important to remember, back pain can result from certain movements or positions, rather than a chronic condition.
When explaining your back pain be sure to share if there are any movements, activities or treatments that either increase or decrease the pain. Likewise, it can help your doctor pinpoint your diagnosis if you can take note of where you are when the pain occurs and if it occurs at a certain time of day. For example, at your office around midday sitting at your desk, in the morning when you wake up, or at night when you’re driving home.
Clearly explaining the location, symptoms, aggravating and alleviating factors, timing and environment of your pain allows your doctor to see a clear picture of what you’re experiencing and set a course of action to get you back to normal.
Describe the Character of Your Pain
The character or type of pain that you are experiencing can be a beneficial clue to what’s at the root of your discomfort. For example, is the pain sharp and stabbing, extreme heat or burning sensation, extreme cold, throbbing, inflamed tissue, sensitivity to contact, itching, numbness, tingling, and pins and needles?
Describing your pain can point your physician in the direction of the injury causing the pain. Could you have a pinched nerve, a bulging disc, or potential fracture or dislocation? From these descriptions, your physician can begin to properly diagnose your situation.
Describe the Intensity
Last but certainly not least, How intense is the pain that you are feeling? Explaining not only the location, symptoms, and character of your back pain but the intensity can help determine the severity of the situation
Most physicians will use a scale of 1 -10. 1-3 being mild and 7-10 meaning severe. It is important to make sure you grade your back pain as accurately as possible to receive the correct treatment.