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News Letter

Home Health Education Living With Joint Pain
How to Talk with Your Doctor about Arthritis Pain Print E-mail

Pain is your body's signal that something is wrong. Whenever you have pain, determining its cause is just as important as finding relief. Living with chronic pain can have serious consequences for people with arthritis. If pain keeps you from moving your muscles and joints normally, you may lose full function of your joints and develop joint deformities. Ignoring pain is never a good idea. If pain prevents you from enjoying your day-to-day life, it is time to do something about it.

By better understanding your pain, you can provide your doctor with the information needed to help him or her treat your condition. Your doctor will want to know about the location, frequency and severity of your pain. To make the most of your appointments with your doctor, be prepared to answer these questions about your arthritis pain:

  • What is the pain like? (Throbbing, piercing, sharp, dull, aching)
  • Where is the pain?
  • How severe is the pain (on a scale from 1 to 10)?
  • When did the pain begin?
  • How long does the pain last?
  • What aggravates or relieves the pain?

The Arthritis Foundation offers a free brochure, Speaking of Pain. It provides useful information to help you accurately monitor your pain and communicate effectively with your doctor. To request a copy, call 1-800-283-7800.

Tracking Your Pain

Tracking your pain is important. It is a way to learn whether new medications, exercises or other treatments are improving your pain level.

One excellent way to track your pain is with the "Daily Pain Record" on this Web site. Or, get a calendar with room to make notes for each day and track the following information as it pertains to you:

  • Location of pain.
  • How do you feel when you wake up?
  • What aggravates the pain?
  • When does pain start in the day?
  • What activities cause pain?
  • What is pain like at mid-day?
  • What is pain like in the evening?
  • What is pain like at night in bed?
  • Does pain wake you up?
  • Does pain come back before you take your medication?
  • How long does it take to get pain relief after you take your medication?
  • Does driving affect your pain?
  • What activities are you unable to do because of pain?
  • How does your job affect your condition?

Armed with this "pain log," you'll be able to have a meaningful, productive appointment with your physician.


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