Posted by: painreliefcoach | June 4, 2007

HOW TO TALK ABOUT CHRONIC PAIN WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL

 

First, it’s important to know that it is your right as a patient to have your report of pain taken seriously and to be treated with respect.  The more organized and specific you can be, the better your health care provider can respond.  Writing out your concerns, including: where it hurts, does the pain move or change, how does it feel (numb, stabbing, etc.), and how you would rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most pain you have ever felt) gives a good start.  Do you know what makes it better or worse?  Is the pain affecting your daily life, if yes-how?  Are you feeling depressed, anxious, irritable?  Are you taking any medications, over the counter or herbs?  What have you tried that has helped or has not been effective (i.e. heat, cold, massage)?

Write out questions and concerns that you have and want answered during your visit.  Make a copy for the health care provider and hand it to him/her when they walk in the door.  Have your copy in front of you and then go over it together.  It will be much more time efficient and effective.  Keep a file of all of your notes in a folder that you carry with you, along with a list of current medications and treatments.  If you are seeing different providers, you will receive better care if everyone has the same information.

Take notes during the appointment or have someone you trust go in with you to help you get all of the information correct.  When you are in pain, it’s often hard to concentrate.  It’s okay to accept support.  Be your own advocate.  Take time to make informed decisions.  It’s your right to refuse treatment if you are uncomfortable with it or want more information to decide.  If your pain persists seek another opinion from a pain specialist if needed.

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