Physicians can deal well with quantitative data. Looking at the results from various testing can tell them a great deal about a patient’s medical condition. Qualitative data on the other hand is much more difficult for a doctor to analyze. One way for a patient to get the help they need for certain medical problems is to create entries in a pain diary. A pain diary is a pretty self-explanatory term. At a young age, especially young girls, kept a diary of what happened throughout their day and often these were kept hidden for the writer’s eyes only. A pain diary is something that should be shared with your physician. It provides useful information that will help them accurately diagnose and treat many medical conditions.
What goes into a pain diary
These pages can be filled with all sorts of information. It does not necessarily need to be filled out each day but the more often information is entered, possibly the easier it will be to determine the cause of the pain. Things that should be included in a pain diary are:
The location of the pain
The severity rated on some quantifiable scale
Any medications both prescription and non-prescription that were taken
How any medications affected the pain
What daily activities if any you were unable to complete due to the pain
Anything that seems to make the pain better or worse
A pain diary allows a doctor to look into the history of a certain condition. By determining triggers of the pain as well as remedies for it an individual may even be able to begin controlling it themselves. The information within the pages of a pain diary can help someone understand potential causes of the pain and convey that information to a medical professional or do research themselves.
Negative effects of pain diaries
It may seem like an excellent idea to keep a pain diary but it is important not to take documentation of the pain too far. There is a possibility than an individual may become addicted to making entries into their pain diaries. While an entry each day is normal, an entry each hour can be considered excessive. Of course when someone focuses on the pain or condition a great deal they may feel it more often or view it as more severe. They may also come to incorrect conclusions or incorporate so much conflicting data that the pain diary will only make diagnosis and treatment more difficult. It is helpful to keep a log or diary for pain but it is important not to be consumed by it.
New developments in pain diaries
Logging information in a diary can be time consuming. What’s even more time consuming is the time it takes a physician to read each page carefully, make the appropriate notes and connections, and perhaps even decipher the poor handwriting of the author. In 2007 the American Pain Society met to discus the possibility of electronic pain diaries.
An electronic pain diary can be purchased for less than $100. Although the initial investment may seem quite high, physicians were poled to speculate the possible benefits. The results of these polls were that physicians agreed an electronic diary would improve outcomes overall. Specifically they believed it would reduce future medical conditions, help physicians manage their patients better, and in the long run reduce health costs. Testing to rule out certain conditions would no longer be necessary and in the long run the investment of the electronic pain diary would be well justified. It is also easier to have set scales located within the files of this diary for the patient to fill out. This allows the physician to get information they desire and believe will help them help their patients without wading through a lot of information that may not be helpful.
It has become increasingly popular to have a pain diary online. Templates can be downloaded simply and either filled out online or printed and filled out by hand. There are various questions and tips recommended with each of these template websites which are aimed to increase the speed of diagnosis and effectiveness of treatments. Some physicians even have their own programs developed to they can get certain data they believe will be vital to helping their patients recover.
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