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Talking to your Doctor about Better Pain Management
One of the most difficult aspects of managing your chronic pain is communicating that pain to your doctor or healthcare team. Often, the patient is only aware of how bad they feels. There is no objective test that measures how bad you feel or how much you are suffering. Since pain is invisible, and since so many people are reluctant to talk about their physical feelings for fear of showing weakness, it can often cause mistrust and difficulties in their relationships. Here are 4 Tips for Talking to Your Doctor About Better Pain Management.
1. The Pain Scale
Pain affects everyone differently, and some conditions cause greater impact than others. And since chronic conditions cannot be assessed through objective external means, it is difficult to measure and discuss. Luckily, the Pain Scale was created to help doctors and patients talk about their pain, and is now used in nearly every hospital and doctor’s office. Generally this is a 10-point scale, 1 being no pain at all or completely normal, 10 being the worst they have ever felt. While it may seem simple, the research behind this scale proves it is effective for anyone to communicate how they feel.
2. How to Use the Scale
The one issue with the pain scale is that it is still a subjective measure. For instance, someone with a high pain threshold might describe their pain as a 3, while someone more sensitive might rate the same pain a 9 or 10. In order to give your doctor a sense of your pain level, you need to provide your doctor with some context. Typically a doctor will cue this information from you by asking you to first remember the worst pain you have ever experienced, in order to serve as an appropriate benchmark for comparing with the pain you are experiencing presently.
3. Chronic Pain Management
For chronic cases, your doctor may also ask you to rate your pain as you have experienced it over the course of the past week, rating their pain at its most and least severe, as well as at an acceptable or normal level. While it may not always be possible to lower to a zero, it is fairly easy to manage their condition to get it at an acceptable level that a patient can still function normally in their lives. Over time your doctor will gain an intuitive understanding of your scale whenever you assign a rating.
4. Describing Chronic Pain
In addition to the scale, which rates pain based on intensity, it is also important to describe to your doctor how you it hurts. The manner in which your painful feelings affect you can explain a lot about the underlying cause of your symptoms. For instance, a back injury caused by occupational habits or arthritis, you may experience a dull ache. Nerve inflammation on the other hand, can feel like shooting, burning, vibrating or numbness. The way in which your pain manifests may vary throughout the day or week, so it is important to explain this variation to your physician.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8884907
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Paula Heugly is from Sandy Utah and has worked in geriatrics since 1989. She has worked in skilled nursing facilities, ICFs and Assisted Living facilities in a variety of different positions and has a great passion for the geriatric population. She has enjoyed the positions as a CNA, Recreational and Social Service Director, Assistant Administrator, Administrator, and in the Marketing department.She has been married to her husband Brian Heugly for 23 years who is also working in the health care field. She has three sons and is now enjoying the life of being Grandma!