Case Management, File Review, Life Care Plan, Medical Consultation

Dear Pain Diary…

 June 21, 2016

By  Deborah L Weiner Katz, OTR/L, CCM, CLCP

‘Journal’ is another word for ‘diary.’ People of any age, race or gender have been writing in them for a whole host of purposes. Doctors and medical professionals in particular find it extremely helpful when a patient uses one. Psychologists recommend journaling as a powerful therapy tool. When their doctor orders a diet, patients are often asked to keep a food journal. These are examples, however, that occur sometime after the general problem is diagnosed. The value of a pain diary is that it can be relied upon to ascertain what the issue is in the first place. Keeping a pain diary eliminates that all too common occurrence of waiting weeks, seeing a medical professional and paying a hefty co-pay for minutes of consultation, only to realize you left some detail out. Thankfully, you are not alone between doctor visits. The experts at AdvancedRM are always discussing and exploring new ways to help manage your health and enable you to provide your doctors with the most accurate information. Let us walk you through keeping a pain diary.

Dear Pain Diary…what should I write?

The blank page never gets any less intimidating. The same goes for diary entries. So, here are basic suggestions for information to get you started:

  • Date and time. This is a journal, after all. Start with the day and time of the entry. If relevant, catch your diary up with what you have been doing since the last entry.
  • Describe the pain. Spare no details. Start with the good old scale of 1 to 10. Where in your body do you feel the pain? How intense is it? How long does it last? How often does it occur? Did it interrupt a daily activity?
  • Did you take any medication? If you are on any medication, be sure to be just as detailed. What are you taking? What are the dosages? Most importantly, did they work?
  • Does anything else help? Have you tried yoga or meditation? Even non-drug related methods should be mentioned. Don’t be shy! Feel free to even take note of any emotions connected to the pain.

Dear Pain Diary…what can you tell me?

Now that you know what to write in your diary, what should you hope to learn from your diary? There is a reason you actually address the book, after all. The purpose is for it to be a substitute for actual two-way communication. Let’s see what your diary may be trying to tell you:

  • Patterns. One’s ability to learn just about anything is greatly enhanced by the ability to pick up on patterns. It is no different with pain management. A daily record of your pain will likely provide insight into whether your pain is precipitated by certain food, weather patterns or physical activity.
  • What works. Between keeping track of medication and other means of treatment, you ought to get a better idea of what works when it comes to alleviating pain.
  • What doesn’t work. Perhaps tweaks need to be made in your medication schedule. Side effects may be discovered.

Dear Pain Diary…who should I share you with?

By describing the pain diary as a substitute for two-way communication, we are by no means suggesting you should forego seeking a professional opinion. If anything, the simulation of communing with a journal ought to be good practice for that highly anticipated doctor’s appointment. After all, it is really no one’s fault if certain details are skipped. After all, pain management is largely your responsibility with the doctor being the most valuable player on your team. Our recommendation of keeping a pain diary counts on you taking that responsibility seriously and accounts for whatever pressure you might feel to remember a lot of information in a short span of time. By all means, share your pain diary with your general doctor. Should the information lead you to a specialist, share it. Make a copy if you must. Remeber, emotional and mental distress can be the byproduct of pain. See a therapist and we guarantee that he or she will not only be grateful, but impressed, should you produce a detailed record of your experiences.

AdvancedRM was founded by medical experts devoted to advocating for your health and welfare in the realms of law, medicine and beyond. Healthcare and rehabilitation are prevalent in our lives on a daily basis. Our specialty is to bridge all gaps between you and the doctors or lawyers, so that no stone is left unturned in your journey to good health. Pain may end up something you have to live with indefinitely, that is why we have devoted ourselves to educating you regarding the means to manage it. Contact us today if you have any questions.

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