My 6 Year Old Won Talk To Me About Feelings How to Talk About Your Chronic Pain With Your Doctor More Easily

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How to Talk About Your Chronic Pain With Your Doctor More Easily

Have you ever had the experience of trying to tell your doctor about your chronic pain and feeling like she doesn’t really understand how bad it hurts? ? Or, worse, that she is judging your mercy as you speak? Is she suspicious of your motives? That she believes deep down that you might fail?

If so, you are not alone. More than seven million people in the US alone experience chronic pain, and out of that vast number, many of us have had similar “sinful feelings” of our own. Whether this is because we are used to not believing, or because the medical profession tends to be very skeptical about chronic pain in general, the end result is the same: we tends to shut down, and our pain goes untreated, or under treated.

This is an unacceptable situation. To be an empowered patient, we must learn how to communicate our pain effectively to our physicians. And when we are not heard, despite our best efforts, we have the right and the responsibility to seek another physician who does not work under such a serious misunderstanding.

But before you ditch your current doctor and start looking for a new one, ask yourself these three questions.

One: Am I communicating clearly and objectively about my chronic pain?

Do you use words like “it hurts all the time” or “it always feels like this”? Next time, try to use language that sounds more objective. Although all pain is subjective in nature, we can express our feelings more accurately by focusing on two aspects of pain: intensity and quality.

Intense means simply “heavy.” The old and widely used method of “on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most excruciating pain you can imagine” is an example of fairly communicating intensity. Another, perhaps more beneficial, method is to use a 1 to 100 scale. This allows for more flexibility and nuance. You can also give ranges that may mean more to your doctor than “About six or seven” — “in the range of sixty to seventy-five, out of 100” can intensify your express pain more effectively.

Quality simply refers to the type of pain you are experiencing. Some examples are burning, injuring, stabbing, burning, stealing, and stealing. How you identify the quality of the pain can be very beneficial to your doctor. For example, if you describe a deep aching pain that indicates a muscle issue, that will trigger your doctor’s critical thinking in a very different way than if you describe a superficial aching pain, which indicates a brain issue.

Two: Have I taken responsibility for finding out everything I can about my condition and symptoms?

Have you kept a diary of your pain symptoms? This is perhaps the single most effective tool the patient has in her arsenal when seeking better pain management. Use any notebook you like—even a regular legal pad—and keep daily notes about your activity level, your diet, your sleep and rest, your medications, and your pain symptoms. By tracking these five aspects of your health care simultaneously over time, you and your doctor can begin to recognize patterns. These patterns can then be extremely helpful in deciding which conservative, surgical and medication options best suit your needs.

In addition to keeping a journal, which I encourage all chronic pain patients to do, you can also take it upon yourself to do some research. Although you should be careful not to rely on sites that are properly and properly researched, within these parameters there is a wealth of consumer-oriented health care information available on the internet. Look up your condition in one or more sites, and make notes about common symptoms, prognosis, treatments and new studies. Come armed with this information to each doctor’s visit, and share your findings with her.

Three: Am I putting my own fear on my doctor?

Finally, ask yourself if it is possible that your difficulties in communicating with your doctor are more a result of past problems with other doctors or your own fears, rather than a problem special with this special doctor.

From my own history, I know all too well how one bad experience with one bad doctor can color your views of the medical profession as a whole. I have been very fortunate to have a positive relationship with an excellent GP for over 10 years now, who I “inherited” from my mother who was also his patient. However, after having a terrible experience with an extremely arrogant surgeon who worked on my brother’s cancer care team, I felt nervous about talking to my doctor, who had never for any reason to make me feel that way.

Give some thought to this. If it is a real problem with the doctor you are seeing, and not a general fear or a special experience with someone else, you have to decide if the relationship is worth saving. If so, talk to your doctor. If it helps, practice beforehand with a friend by doing some role-playing. But if all else fails, you can hold your head high and seek a better doctor – one who listens to you with respect.

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