03 Jun Pain Log
Frequently, when you go to a doctor’s office, whether it is a general practitioner or a pain clinic, you will see a chart on the wall meant to help you describe your pain.
These charts are so common we begin to not see them after a while. These are the charts that have a smiling face on the left-hand side above the numbers zero or one. However, there are usually 10 smiling faces in a row, all very simply drawn, and as you move your eyes to the right, the smile becomes less perky until it becomes a straight line. Then, if you keep looking right, you see the lips droop into a frown and the frown gets more pronounced as you move along.
The last drawing shows a face looking very unhappy. There might be tear forming at the one eye. Underneath the drawing is number 10. Above all this is the question: What is your overall level of pain? These charts look childish, and, yes, they do help doctors communicate with children (and adults) to understand how much pain they might be in. But these charts can also be extremely helpful for anyone suffering from chronic pain. These charts can be an essential part of keeping a pain journal.
We know that the more information a doctor has the better equipped he or she will be to help their patients. Pain logs can be a critical part of your own evaluation process, too. Here are a few things they can do:
- Identify Triggers
Many painful conditions come and go. They are related to something in the environment, but it is hard to figure out what this might be. A pain log can provide invaluable insight into what is going on. Maybe the pain falls into a certain time of day or even a certain day of the week. Maybe it is related to a particularly stressful event. Maybe it is related to an allergy.
Pain is your body’s way of communicating with you. Sometimes, however, we don’t listen too well. A pain log is an attempt to do the opposite. It is an attempt to really pay attention to those pain signals. The more you know about something, the more you will be equipped to control it.
- Pain is Fear
Pain, especially severe pain and chronic pain, is frightening. Think for a minute about a hornet or a yellow jacket. Even thinking of those insects can provoke fear. Pain and fear are close friends. However, people have a way of exaggerating things, even to themselves. Maybe the pain was bad but not as bad as you tell yourself. A pain log provides a reality check for you.
- At the Doctor’s
Needless to say, a pain log provides very valuable information for your doctor. Bring the information into your doctor’s appointments to provide a real-time accurate chart of the pain you are experiencing.