Tell your Doctor about your Pain

pain“It hurts all over” the feeling that many chronic pain patients are familiar with but how do you describe your pain to someone like your doctor? This is a challenge that pain patients experience frequently. They often can’t exactly describe the pain they feel, what words to use, and sometimes they try to describe it without making it unpleasant for others. What many individuals with pain do not realize is that describing their pain as accurately as possible is important for physicians to determine diagnosis and treatment plans. So don’t try to downplay your pain because you’re afraid of people thinking you’re complaining too much or think you are whining. When talking about pain, describe where pain occurs, how long it lasts and how often it occurs, let your physician know if the pain moves or if it remains constant. Knowing your triggers and what causes you pain relief is also important information. When you’re asked to rate your pain on a scale from 0-10 don’t be shy to ask what the numbers represent. Communication is the key to measure, understand and treat chronic pain. So don’t be shy, speak up and provide your physician with all the information necessary. Next time you need to describe your pain use these adjectives to help you.

aching           agonizing                  excruciating             burning                     crampingdull                 gnawing                    pins and needles     pounding                  pressing radiating            sharp                         stabbing       shooting                    throbbing

For more information please call the UF Center for Pain Research at 352-265-8901 or email us at