If you are experiencing intense or chronic pain, your physician might ask you to keep a pain diary. This will help him better understand what you are going through; it will also help other caregivers understand your situation. But what is a pain diary? How will it help ease your misery, and what do you need to know about keeping a pain diary?
Purpose of a Pain Diary
Why keep a pain diary? Research shows that they improve the way doctors help their patients manage intense, chronic pain (BreastCancer.org). A physician might ask his patient to keep track of the pain, which can help him identify the cause. Once he understands the cause of your agony, he will be able to prescribe a treatment to help ease it.
Benefits of a Pain Diary
Heightened awareness of pain, guidance for pain management behaviors, enhanced sense of control and communication: These are all benefits of using a pain diary. If you are experiencing intense or chronic distress, you may be unsure of the cause. Keeping track of when, where, and the intensity of the problem can help your doctor figure out what’s going on with your body. Writing this information down can be valuable.
How to Keep a Pain Diary
Several times a day, jot down detailed information about the pain your experiencing: where it hurts, what it feels like, intensity of the pain, how long it lasts, and preceding events. Also record actions that make it better or worse. Finally, do you have any accompanying symptoms – sweating, anxiety, depression? Write detailed accounts as episodes occur or, in the case of prolonged pain, write in your diary several times a day.
Print a copy of the daily pain diary to help your caretakers better understand the intensity of your pain. Fill in the information and bring the journal to your next appointment.
Are you experiencing intense or chronic pain? Keep track of your pain in a diary until you can meet with your doctor for further advice; write down as much information as you possibly can. Understanding when and where the problem is occurring will help him prescribe treatment to help ease your distress.
Keeping a Pain Diary, BreastCancer.org
Pain – Pain Assessment, WebMD
**Note: This article is meant for informational purposes only. The author does not claim to be a medical professional; if you are experiencing chronic pain, please consult with your physician for further medical advice.