As both a physician and a patient, I've experienced the difficulties of talking about pain at doctor visits. In a handout for patients in chronic pain, I offer insights and tips. Here are just a few:
* Talking about pain...is not complaining; it is reporting vital information.
* If you notice your pain at all, it has already reached the level where you need to tell us about it.
* [Pain drains]...your physical energy that can be better used for healing.
* [C]hronic pain...[can] blind you to joys that are still possible each day.
* Effective treatment can manage almost all cases of pain.
* [D]on't be surprised if doing the right thing—namely, paying attention to your pain and talking about it with...[your doctors]—causes you to feel...a bit blue.
TIPS:* Write down how your pain interferes with eating, sleeping, working, playing or relaxing.
* Make a list of responsibilities you can't fulfill and hobbies you can't enjoy because of your pain.
* Tell yourself, “Same pain—different problem.” ...different conditions can cause the exact same symptom.
* Tell yourself, “Different setting—different problem.” Take note of differences in your current condition compared with when you were diagnosed.
* Try to be patient. It may take trying five or more different approaches to find the best therapy....
To read or share the complete one-page handout, click here.