How do I Tell My Doctor that it Hurts?
There are more than 100 million Americans who are in Pain everyday and probably a few thousands of them at least need to visit the doctor offices, the emergency rooms or the hospitals.
To make your visit simple and timely, there are necessary preparation on the patient side, patients need to communicate effectively with the medical staff and physician, they need to speak the medical lingo, every industry has their own lingo so they can communicate effectively with each other.
It is not enough to say it hurts, you need to describe your pain in three different aspects or states.
First, in the medical field, pain has a descriptive number, based on the pain scale zero (0) to ten (10).
The number describes the intensity of the pain subjective by the individual. Your doctor may also ask you more probing questions during the assessment period, regarding the intensity of your pain.
As a good, effective communicator, you, the patient, would prepare for the following possible questions:
What is the pain level (intensity), average on a daily basis?
What is your pain level before you use the prescribed medication?
and the important question, what is Your Pain level after you take the medications?
We hope that your pain level is reduced after you take the medications showing that the Medications Are Working For You.
These are a few discussions with the medical staff during your visit.
The second aspect of pain is the characteristics of the pain. The pain can be sharp pain like knife piercing into your muscles and nerves. The pain can be burning pain like when you are in the sun for prolonged period of time and your skin peeled off your tissue. The pain can be shooting pain like it is pulsing in to your nerve when you have a toothache. There are also throbbing pain, dull pain, electrical shocking pain, radiating pain, cramping pain, tingling pain, numbing pain etc..
Please let me know what kind of pain are you experiencing.
The third component of pain is the frequency of pain. Do you feel the pain all the time? Do you feel the pain when you stress out with family issues? Do you feel pain when you get up in the morning, or when somebody makes you upset?
The typical answers can be: I feel pain in the background all the time, and sometimes more pain when I stand up for more than forty minutes. Or I have stable pain it does not change much from morning to afternoon. Or I have pain on and off, sometimes I don’t feel it but other times it comes in wave.
Please describe your pain using the pain scale from zero (0) to ten (10). Pain at level zero is no feeling of pain, pain at level 1 to 3 is tolerable pain, Pain at level 4 and 5 cause you to lose focus on your daily living activity. Pain at level 6 and level 7 causes you to become distressed and/or disoriented, cannot focus on working. Pain level 8 can be described simple as it is horrible pain. Pain level 9 is excruciating pain like a person suffered an appendicitis, he or she cannot stand up straight, has to bend down in a fetus position. Pain level 10 is like a lady in labor of a child birth, he or she cannot talk, or cannot speak coherently.
Thank you for reading, please let me know how do you describe your pain.