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Describing Pain

Our goal at Colasanti Chiropractic and Wellness Centre is to help our patients maintain their good health - proactively with regular care. However, we understand that pain happens; whether by injury, illness or a chronic condition.

Some people struggle to describe their pain to doctors and others, which can make treatment and understanding the pain more challenging. Pain is also subjective; the way people hurt varies greatly from person to person.

Here are some tips to help you define your pain.

  • Onset – When did the pain start? Do you believe it was from an injury or activity?

  • Location – Where does it hurt? Do you feel associated symptoms elsewhere in your body? (Example: right shoulder pain and occasional numbness in the right hand.)

  • Type – What adjectives would you use to describe the pain? (Examples: sharp, achy, burning, throbbing.)

  • Intervals – Do you hurt all the time, or at certain times of the day or when performing any particular activities?

  • Management – How have you been managing the pain? When do you feel relief from the pain? Have you sought out other treatment options or medications?

To better understand the pain, some practitioners may request that the patient document their pain in a journal. The journaling process can help better define the pain quality, duration, related symptoms and onset by activity.

Using a scale of pain, while subjective, can also be helpful in describing the intensity of pain and how it affects a person’s life. Here is a general outline:

0 – Pain-free 1 – Very mild, hardly perceptible 2 – Minor pain, noticeable but more irritating than painful 3 – Noticeable pain, but it doesn’t affect daily activities 4 – Moderate pain, but hours can pass without thinking about it 5 – Moderate but significant pain which is noticed every few minutes and is starting to impact daily activities 6 – Significant pain which disrupts concentration and physical activities 7 – Severe pain affects the quality of life and interferes with normal sleep patterns 8 – Intense pain which limits nearly all physical activities and cognition is impaired 9 – Excruciating pain whereby the person cannot function physically or mentally 10 – Pain beyond description, the sufferer may be bedridden and delirious

Pain is a signal that something is not right in your body, and it should never be ignored. Seek out professional medical help at the onset to help prevent future problems and potentially increasing severity.

If we can help you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us: 519-258-8544


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