CHANGE your pain
How to talk about your pain with your healthcare professional
Preparation is key
Appointments with doctors can be short; therefore, before your appointment about your chronic pain, it can be beneficial to prepare key points that you want to discuss with your doctor.
Key pieces of information your doctor may want to know are:1
You can read more about ways to prepare for your appointment here
Setting realistic goals
Once you’ve discussed your pain, it is important to work with your doctor to set realistic short- and long-term goals.2 It may not be possible to completely alleviate your pain but reducing your pain and working towards reintroducing activities that you used to enjoy may be possible.
To begin setting your goals, your doctor may ask you questions like:3
With this information, you and your doctor can work together to tailor your treatment to your needs and priorities.4,5 Remember, there could be factors contributing to your pain that you might not typically think of, so be open to suggested solutions.
Continuing to monitor your pain
Once you’ve discussed and agreed upon a management plan, it’s important to continue to monitor your pain. Not only will this let you see how well your treatment is working or whether changes need to be made (if it is not working so well), it will also help you to see how far you have come and note the successes you have achieved.6
Take a look at some of the other resources in the CHANGE your pain section for hints and tips that you may find helpful for managing your pain.
1. Clayton H, Reschak G, Gaynor S, Creamer J. A novel program to assess and manage pain. Medsurg Nurs 2000; 9: 318–21.
2. Henry SG, Matthias MS. Patient-clinician communication about pain: A conceptual model and narrative review. Pain Med (United States) 2018; 19: 2154–65.
3. Nijs J, Wijma AJ, Willaert W, et al. Integrating motivational interviewing in pain neuroscience education for people with chronic pain: A practical guide for clinicians. Phys Ther 2020; 100: 846–59.
4. Australian Department of Health & Human Services. What is person-centred health care? A literature review. 2011. www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/publications/researchandreports/What-is-person-centred-health-care-A-literature-review Accessed April 2021.
5. Royal College of General Practitioners. Inquiry into patient centred care in the 21st century. 2014. www.rcgp.org.uk/policy/rcgp-policy-areas/inquiry-into-patient-centred-care-in-the-21st-century.aspx Accessed April 2021.
6. De Wit R, Van Dam F, Hanneman M, et al. Evaluation of the use of a pain diary in chronic cancer pain patients at home. Pain 1999; 79: 89–99.