If you are in the hospital or a doctor’s office with a painful problem, you’ll likely be asked to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10 – with 0 meaning no pain and 10 indicating the worst pain you can imagine. But many doctors and nurses say this rating system isn’t working and they’re trying a new approach.
The thinking is that the numeric pain scale may just be too simplistic. It can lead doctors to “treat by numbers,” and as a result, patients may not be getting the most effective treatment for their pain. If the doctor gets the wrong idea about your pain, it’s not just going to affect your comfort – it can affect your treatment.
Many health care providers are trying to come up with a system that involves words, not numbers. Using words to describe pain brings greater specificity to the measurement of pain.
Here’s advice for the next time you need to talk to your doctor about your pain.
Get descriptive – what does it feel like; where is it; does it move.
Describe your day – talk about how your pain waxes and wanes throughout your day.
Talk about function, not feeling – be clear about how your pain interferes with daily activities, such as getting out of bed, getting dressed, walking, exercising or no longer enjoying getting out with friends.
Share your treatment history – describe the history of the pain, the location, how long it’s been hurting and what factors seem to aggravate it or help it get better. Also share other treatments you have tried.
Recipe of the Week:
Ina Garten has a new cookbook, “Cook Like A Pro” coming out this October, but she was kind enough to share this Tomato & Avocado Salad recipe in advance. Perfect for summer with fresh tomatoes, avocados, red onion, with arugula and a fresh lemon vinaigrette.
Quote of the Week:
“Be humble. Be teachable. And always keep learning.”