Why is keeping a pain journal crucial if you have chronic pain?
Chronic and acute pain affects many people worldwide. It can have a significant impact on the quality of your life and daily activities. Whether you have acute pain (short term pain) or chronic pain (long term pain), your physician may request you keep a pain journal to help uncover any activities that could be making your pain worse.
Many patients wonder why it’s important to keep a pain journal. What they don’t know is how important this information is to the doctor and also to the patient, because it helps pinpoint certain triggers and changes in your symptoms that may not have been noticed if you weren’t writing down your symptoms and activities.
Keeping a daily pain journal also helps to uncover some emotional elements that could be adding to your pain, or even that your pain could be causing. This is important know so your physician can offer guidance and a treatment plan to help with these symptoms.
When a patient keeps a pain journal it can actually be a very therapeutic process, allowing them to gain a little bit of control when they feel like they don’t have any. By writing down your symptoms and organizing your thoughts, this shows the patient what is working and what isn’t. It will also show the patient what daily activities could be making your pain worse or better.
When recording your pain journal here are the steps you should follow to get the best information:
- Record how you’re feeling from the moment you wake up.
- Make sure to record the date and time of each entry
- Document the intensity of your pain on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the worst pain.
- Write down what you’re eating and how you feel afterwards. Does the pain get worse or stay the same.
- How does the pain feel after doing daily activities. Are there any activities that make it better or worse.
- Document you activity level. Were you busy, had moderate activity or relaxed.
- What activities help alleviate your pain, hot shower, icing, stretching, light exercise, resting.
- Sleeping habits. Document the number of hours you sleep, how well you sleep and if your pain feels worse after a night’s sleep.
- Track your emotions for the day. Did you have any extra stress. How did the pain make you feel that day.
Remember, it’s important to know that the more information you can give, the better. Most physicians like to see about 30 days of a pain journal to get the best idea of a treatment plan moving forward and what could be beneficial in reducing and healing your pain.
Before seeing your doctor go through your journal and find any common activities, food or emotional triggers that made you feel worse or better. Jot down any conclusions to go over with your doctor.
At Integrated Spine, Pain & Wellness (ISPW), Dr. Ashu K. Goyle likes to have as much information as possible when it comes to your medical history and current symptoms. More information means that Dr. Goyle can come up with solid steps to guide you through the road to recovery.
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