Pain can be mild, moderate, or even severe and debilitating. Tips for What To Do if You Are In Pain so that your pain can be properly diagnosed.


Some types of conditions are easy to diagnose. Broken bones, specific medical conditions or diseases, or even the flu all have signs and symptoms that follow patterns that help physicians figure out a diagnosis. Pain, on the other hand, is different.  Where you feel pain in your body can be a specific symptom, or pain can radiate, or move to another area of the body, even though it is coming from a different body area. And if your in the midst of a very painful situation, your mind and body may not even be able to articulate much more to a doctor examining you other than “it hurts.” Although that may be all you can think if you’re having pain, such general statements to a physician really don’t give them enough clues to figure out why you may be having pain.


So the key is to have a plan in place before you have pain, so that in the event that you or a family member experiences pain, you will know how to document your pain and provide your physician or health care practitioner with useful clues about the pain’s origin, so that they can properly diagnose and treat you.


Here are the the things you need to do if you or a family member is having pain:

1. Keep a pain journal: write down all the details about your pain, get a notebook, or get out sheets or paper, the important thing is to document your pain

In your pain journal you will want to note the following:

2. Where is the pain: what part of the body is the pain in?  You may want to get a diagram of the human body and draw (color) in the areas where you are experiencing pain

3. Does the pain move? (Does it start in one area for example, and then move into another area of the body?

4. On a scale from 0-10 with “0 being no pain at all and “10” being the worst, how much pain are you experiencing?

5.  What positions or activities make the pain better or worse? For example, does laying in a certain position help or make the pain worse?

a. Does it begin at a particular time of day?
b. How is your pain impacted by eating or drinking?
c. What types of food and beverages are you eating?
d. Did the pain begin after eating a particular food or eating out, or traveling?
e. Is  there numbness associated with the pain?
f. Does it hurt when you move?

6. What other things have you tried to alleviate the pain? Ice, heat, pain medications etc? If you’ve taken pain medications, note on your pain log the type of medications that you’ve taken, the amount, and the time/s. Also, make a note in your pain journal after your interventions to describe if they helped at all and if so, what your pain level is after any of the interventions. Be as specific as possible.  Use your pain scale after your pain interventions to report any progress and the amount of time that it took after taking medications or implementing your intervention with regards to any pain relief you may experience.

7. Describe the characteristics of the pain:  (Here are some characteristics of pain that you can use to describe it)

aching shock-like deep cramping
burning prickly tenderness gnawing
pounding pinching heaviness nagging
throbbing dull stinging blinding
stabbing tightness jolting irritating
tingling fullness sharp excruciating

8. Is this the first time you’ve had this pain or has it happened before?

9. If the pain has occurred before, when did it occur, how long did it last and what was done to alleviate the pain?

10. Do you have other symptoms like fever, vomiting, dizziness, or other symptoms that are happening along with the pain?