- By Hand and Ortho
- Posted January 24, 2015
It is effortless to know you are in pain, but when pressured to describe your pain or talk about when it occurs and how it feels, it becomes much harder. It is much easier to simply ignore the hurt and try to carry on the best you can. While this is one coping mechanism, a more powerful approach is to take some time to learn the behavior of your pain and how to briefly, accurately describe it. Here are some questions paired with an example to get your mind churning about how you feel.
Answer the question “What brings you here” as briefly as possible: I am having dull pain in my low back.
Describe the onset and timing of your symptoms: I have had back pain off and on for the past 2 years, but in the past 4 months it has grown particularly painful, especially when I sit for long periods of time and as the day progresses.
What makes the pain better or worse: Standing up and stretching decreases my pain.
Describe your symptoms with adjectives such as (sharp, dull, on the surface, deep, etc): The pain I feel is like a dull ache.
Point to the location of your symptoms: My back pain originates from this circle around my spine.
Rate the severity of your symptoms: (I know this is extremely difficult to quantify, refer to this post for more about the pain scale) I would rate my back pain as 3 of 10. It is more annoying than anything because it keeps me from sitting when I am trying to get something done.
List other things happening at the time of your symptoms: I recently moved to an apartment with a flight of stairs- so I am often carrying my son up the stairs which may contribute to my back pain.
Describe when the symptoms occurred (if acute the setting and your condition): Three months ago my low back pain became significantly worse.
Although difficult, understanding the nature of your symptoms can be incredibly advantageous and lead to better care. Reflecting before your next appointment about these questions will allow you to present your symptoms in the most accurate and efficient method possible- enabling your therapist to gather accurate information quickly, get you going on a treatment plan and give you in return the best results.
Questions Source: How to Describe Medical Symptoms to Your Doctor