Where Does It Hurt?
Chronic pain can affect any part of your body, but before you plan a trip to your health care provider, think about questions that you may be asked. These questions will go beyond answering the question, “where does it hurt,” to helping your health care provider pinpoint the location and the cause of your pain and plan your care. You may have one of these most common complaints:
- Low back pain.
- Cancer pain.
- Arthritic pain in the hands.
- Nerve pain.
- Psychogenic pain: pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system. It is related to psychological factors that precipitate pain.
- You may also have two or more co-existing chronic pain conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, interstitial cystitis, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
However, reporting to a health care provider that you have a headache or any of the above common complaints does not give a complete picture of what might be causing your pain. Hence, when you present to a primary or tertiary care facility, your health care provider will ask you to answer further questions that include:
- Where the pain is located: this is similar to asking where it hurts, but it will also help the health care provider figure out where else the pain might be and whether it might be radiating from another part of the body.
- When the pain started: the health care provider needs to figure out whether the pain is acute or chronic.
- What you were doing when you felt the pain: helps the health care provider figure out whether the onset of the pain might have been associated with an injury.
- Whether the pain is stabbing, throbbing, aching, or tingling: helps the health care provider figure out whether the pain is from nerve or tissue damage.
- What makes the pain better or worse: whether the pain is responding to medication and whether you experience pain relief from exercising, taking warm baths, or meditating. Information from this discussion will also help the health care provider figure out whether the pain is associated with posture.
- How you would rate the intensity of the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, with ten being very severe: this will help your health care provider gauge whether the pain is dull, sharp, or shooting.
- Whether there are any associated symptoms: muscular spasms, aches, temperature changes, restrictions of motion, morning stiffness, weakness, change in muscle strength, changes in sensation, hair, skin, and nails; these factors will gauge how the pain has affected your overall well-being and whether any infection is involved. For example, changes in muscle strength may signal inflammation.
- Whether the pain has impacted your day-to-day activities: whether the pain affects your quality of life by negatively impacting your relationships, sleep, ability to exercise, work or care for yourself (dress, toilet, bath, walk, or eat).
For more details on how to relieve or treat chronic pain, you can reach out to one of our pain specialists at any of our pain care clinic locations. We establish a caring relationship and provide patients with pain relief when needed the most. Contact us today at 289-724-6109 to educate yourself more and start an exercise regime appropriate and beneficial for relieving your chronic pain condition.