Chronicling Your Chronic Pain: What To Include So Your Doctor Takes You Seriously

Studies suggest that more than 1 in 5 Americans experience chronic pain, which can be categorized as pain that lasts for more than three months and has a significant impact on daily life.

For these individuals, help from a healthcare professional can seem like the only way to get back to life as normal. Unfortunately, almost half of those people feel their doctor doesn’t take their chronic pain seriously. 

As a result, people who experience chronic pain also have to become self-advocates. One of the best ways to do this is to keep a pain diary outlining vital information like the following touch points. 

1) Daily Pain Ratings

A doctor can’t see or measure chronic pain. Unless that patient does the measuring for them. By noting a daily pain rating from 1-10 across a few weeks, it’s possible to give a far more accurate idea of ongoing high pain levels. It’s also worth noting down a daily pain description, which could include ‘tingling, aching, shooting,’ and so on. 

This will help your doctor to measure how much your pain changes over time. This simple reporting method could also help to direct a diagnosis for chronic pain. For instance, if you experience ongoing high pain levels in your joints, a doctor could look into issues like fibromyalgia or hypermobility. By comparison, tingling pain that comes and goes could be a sign of nerve damage. 

2) Personal Coping Mechanisms

It’s also worth listing any coping mechanisms you try, and whether or not they’re successful. Again, this helps your doctor to understand things like pain persistence, as well as potentially pointing towards the most beneficial treatment options. 

For instance, if you find that symptoms ease a little after something like yoga, a guided exercise regime could be beneficial. Equally, if you find that your symptoms ease with natural pain remedies like premium-grade CBD and THC products, your doctor may be better able to prescribe those sustainable pain remedies without the need to try damaging opioids. Your doctor will also be able to rule out ineffective treatments this way, by seeing at a glance the things that have already failed to help, instead of wasting months testing them out. 

3) Be Clear About Your Moods

As well as navigating chronic pain, you’re dealing with its emotional impact. Often, individuals living with undiagnosed chronic pain report feelings of isolation and depression. This can make chronic pain even more dangerous and, like your pain in the first place, it’s a difficult thing for a doctor to see.

By listing changes in your mood directly alongside a daily pain rating, you make it clear how much this pain is impacting your life. Then, your doctor will be far less able to dismiss your symptoms or the impact they have.

Getting a chronic pain diagnosis can be a long and frustrating process at a time when you could do without it. Speed things up as much as possible by chronicling your chronic pain in these vital ways.

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