How to Talk About Pain

In celebration of Effective Communication Month, the first week of June, I talked about how important texting and technology has been to the breakdown of communication skills.  Last week, my blog interview guest shared how communication can help parenting and I introduced a contest you can enter to win free AoE communications studies by sharing how misunderstandings happen in every day lives.  On Monday, my guest showed us how important communication skills are to a music teacher. Today I'd like to share with you another important area of our lives that we don't normally think of as being important when it comes to our communication skills.  This is an article I found online via Web MD.  It's called, "How to Talk About Pain." If you've ever had to convey to a doctor about a chronic pain, you know just how difficult this can be.  I have Fibromyalgia and I get headaches that last for days or even weeks.  Just telling a doctor that you hurt isn't helpful to them, even if they are inclined to believe you.  They need to know how it hurts and exactly where.  We need to be able to accurately describe the pain in order for our doctors to pinpoint the underlying cause of the pain and find a cure...or at least a temporary relief. I was aware of some of the information in this article, but the article is written from a more medical perspective and reviewed by a doctor.  It gives a much more enlightened view of exactly how we should describe our pain to our physician. Have you ever had a problem trying to get your doctor to understand the pain you were in?  How did you get through to them?  Do you think this article will help you?  I'd love your thoughts, especially if you suffer from chronic pain.  Please share your story. x If you liked this post, make sure to subscribe to our RSS Feed so you don’t miss one and SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter: for even MORE communication fun, FREE gifts, Book of the Month Club and exclusive excerpts and offers we don’t share with ANYONE else but our subscribers! x


  • Cindy Holman

    Greg has been to every doctor in our area for leg and feet pain – he’s had every test in the book – and does NOT want to do it again. It makes him feel crazy when all the tests are negative – and he comes out perfectly healthy. But he’s still in pain. Frustrating.

  • jojosblog

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Lea Ann and Carla. I pray this will help others who have chronic pain communicate with their drs and get help.

  • Carla

    It took me four years to get diagnosed with Fibro. That was 15 years ago when no doctor believed in it. I was referred to more psychiatrists than I can count. I didn’t get through to any of them, no matter how specific I was. I was just fortunate enough to finally be referred to the right physician. He touched a few spots on my back and said, “I know what’s wrong with you.” I held the tears until I was out in the car. By the time the arthritis flared and the lupus came along, I didn’t have to really explain as symptoms were pretty obvious. I have to admit to hating. . . no, make that LOATHING. . . the thought of going to a new doctor. It’s like here we go again. . . frustration personified!

  • Lea Ann @WhateverState

    It is very hard to discuss pain with doctors, especially if we have a chronic condition. After a while, I feel like I am just whining in the office. Once, I was so frustrated with my doctor’s lack of understanding I burst into tears and sobbed for a good 10 minutes. He referred me to 2 specialists (within the week) and gave me better medication. I have inflammatory arthritis.

    I have learned since that doctors want facts they can chart, informationthat can be objectively compared over time. How does the pain affect my life? What must I do differently because of the pain? How is it at different times of day? By patiently noting these things and patiently relaying them each visit, my doctors can finally get a sense of how pain changes my life and what help I need.

    Pain is … a pain. Can’t wait until we have no more!

  • jojosblog

    It’s very frustrating, Cindy. This has been my issue for the past 40 some odd years with thyroid issues that they now say have developed into fibromyalgia. Drs did nothing for my thyroid because my tests always came back negative. Then they were unable to do much about the pain of fibro either. I also have borderline hypoglycemia as well as tmj, insomnia, headaches and menopausal symptoms. Drs always thought I was too young to have any of this and so just left me alone.

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