Communicating About Pain

You have a right to have your pain evaluated and treated as effectively as possible. Untreated pain can limit eating, sleeping, and activity. Tell your healthcare provider where and how much you hurt. It may not be possible to relieve all the pain. But your healthcare provider can help you reach a pain level you can live with.

Woman talking to healthcare provider.

Your role

Tell your healthcare provider about the pain and your health problems. Be sure to:

  • Mention all the medicines you take. This includes over-the-counter medicine. It also includes any herbs, teas, or vitamins you take. Be sure to also include any substances, such as marijuana or alcohol.

  • Mention any pain relief techniques you use. These may include massage or meditation.

  • Measure pain as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • If your healthcare provider asks you to, keep a diary of your pain. Record the treatments you are using and how well they work. You may also be asked to describe how strong your pain is on a scale of 0 to 10. Zero is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine. Be prepared to do this for your healthcare provider.

  • Follow your treatment plan as directed by your healthcare provider. Tell your healthcare provider how your treatment is working.

As pain is reduced, you’ll feel better. Less pain means less stress on your body and mind.

Your healthcare provider’s role

Your healthcare provider will help you understand and manage pain. You will be told about your pain control options. These will most likely include medicines. Options like physical therapy and acupuncture may also help.

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.