When dealing with chronic pain, assessment of pain should be an essential component of every medical appointment. Pain assessment provides your healthcare provider with insight in order to help manage any pain you may have. This might include changing dosage of current pain medications, prescribing new medications, or combining medications. Its up to you, as the patient, to inform your doctor as specifically as possible about your pain. Pain isnt something that can be measured like weight or temperature; youre the only one who understands how much pain you can deal with. Informing your healthcare provider about the specifics of your pain can help them create a plan to manage the pain, so be honest and as detailed as you can. If you have difficulty finding the words to talk about your pain with your healthcare provider, consider concrete descriptions of how the pain feels. Is it a sharp or pinching pain or a dull ache? Is it a shooting pain or is it deeper? Do you feel tender or knot-like? Do you feel sore or is the pain throbbing? These are common descriptions which your healthcare may offer you.
In order to further assess your pain, your healthcare provider will probably ask you to rate it or describe it. The purpose of this is to help the healthcare provider understand whether the pain control plan he has developed is effective and to see how you are feeling, so try to be as accurate as possible. One of the most common ways of rating pain is to ask on a simple scale of 0 to 10 how strong the pain is. 0 means no pain, somewhere in the middle means moderate pain, and 10 means the worst pain imaginable. Similarly, your healthcare provider might use a series of faces on a chart and ask you to point out the face that best mimics how you feel. So, a smiling face would mean no pain and a tearful face would mean the worst pain. This is particularly effective to help children rate pain.
Another technique that can help you and your healthcare provider understand how to better manage your pain is to keep a daily or weekly record of it. it can be difficult to remember accurately, how you felt a week ago, so writing it down can help provide an accurate record. This could be a little notebook in which you jot notes or a computer spreadsheet; whatever works for you. You should track pain management medications as well as any other medications and comment on their effectiveness. Also, note any side effects. You may also want to address additional concerns, such as the location/s of the pain, the way it feels, the strength of the pain, its duration, when the pain happens, any symptoms that accompany it, and how it affects your quality of life.
These records can help give your healthcare provider more accurate insight into your pain and its effects and should be reviewed with him/her at your next appointment. For more interesting information, you can visit the following online resources:
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