Pain Management

August 24, 2017

How to Rate Your Pain and Communicate it to Your Surgeon


Pain is a personal experience that only you can understand, and sometimes trying to communicate how it feels is difficult. This can result in a delay of treatment and relief. There are a couple of tools to help you better explain how you are feeling to your healthcare provider.

Keep a “Pain” Diary
Keep a record of what influences or affects your pain level. Documenting how the pain feels can help you gauge your pain level and assist your doctor with evaluating its severity. Determine what triggers your pain, such as specific activities or your environment. Write down the type of pain you are feeling. For instance, if you believe you are experiencing severe spine pain, write down whether that pain feels sharp or dull. By describing your feelings and pain triggers, you increase your chances of an effective pain evaluation by your spine surgeon or interventional pain management specialist in Arkansas

Use a Scale
Using a scale of 0 to 10 as a measurement of the severity of your pain helps in pain evaluation. But because pain is subjective, your pain scale may reflect a higher pain tolerance than someone else’s pain scale and because it is scale based on numbers may not offer enough information for assessing pain.

As an alternative, the LOCATES scale approach offers a solution to pain measurement and can be used in conjunction with a 0 to 10 scale. With the LOCATES, you can assess pain based on:

  • Location: The pain’s location and if it distributes to other body parts.
  • Other symptoms: Are there symptoms linked to your pain, such as weakness or pain in your lower back or nausea?
  • Character of the pain: Is it throbbing or burning?
  • Aggravating/alleviating factors: Factors that improve or worsens pain.
  • Timing: The pain frequency and duration (i.e. intermittent versus constant).
  • Environment: Place of pain occurrence (i.e. home, work).
  • Severity: How severe the pain is based on a 0 to 10 scale, where 0 is no pain and 10 is severe pain. (For serious consideration, avoid using measurements off the scale, such as a 12.)

Final Thoughts
Being able to assess your level of pain can make a significant difference in the treatment of conditions such as severe back pain or joint pain. For help with spine or joint pain, you have options such as the expert team of specialists in Arkansas.

Whether you are looking for a spine surgeon in Arkansas or you need to understand the basics of severe spine or joint pain in Arkansas, it is vital to keep track of your pain so you can get a comprehensive pain evaluation. Contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital today at (877) 918-7020.

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