Talking To Your Doctor About Pain
Pain is managed by the patient and his or her health care providers. In order to help assess the cause and treatment for your pain, a doctor will usually do the following:
- Take your medical history
- Review any medications you are using
- Conduct a physical examination to determine the causes of pain and how this pain is affecting your ability to function
- Take blood and/or urine samples and request necessary laboratory work
- Ask you to have x rays taken or undergo other imaging procedures such as a CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
Describing Your Pain
There is no medical test that can convey the level of pain you are feeling. Only you can describe your pain. In order to provide an accurate description of your pain, it may be helpful to share the answers to the following questions with your doctor:
- How long have you had pain?
- Where is the pain located?
- Does the pain come and go or is it continuous?
- What makes the pain better or worse?
- Has the pain changed since your last visit with your doctor?
- What medications or treatments have you tried for the pain?
Comprehensive Management Plan
After you have been evaluated by your doctor, he or she will discuss the findings with you and design a comprehensive management plan for your pain. There are currently many treatment options available for pain, and scientists believe that research can help lead to more and better treatments for pain in the future.