Managing Your Pain
tips below to help curb pain's impact on your life and to communicate better with your doctor about your pain.
a pain diary. Does your pain change at different times of day? Before or after meals? With exercise? Does it keep you
from falling asleep or wake you up? What makes it better or worse?
your pain. Write down all the words that come to mind. Is it throbbing, sharp, dull, tingling, shooting, burning, or
cold? Your list may help your doctor better determine the pain's cause.
pain rating scales. Rate your pain from 1 to 10. Rank your pain from day to day, or from episode to episode.
medications with your doctor, even those you buy without a prescription. Some common pain relievers, such as aspirin,
acetaminophen, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, should not be used at the same time, as the combination increases
the risk of stomach irritation.
about using food supplements alleged to have "natural" pain-relieving properties. While food supplements are promoted
as having low potential for harm, they may vary considerably from batch to batch, site of origin, and in manner of processing,
according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not regulate such products for safety and efficacy.
The safety of most food supplements is unknown.
non-drug treatments. These include visualization, relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation, biofeedback, and
hypnosis. You may discover if you are comfortable with such strategies by trying them once or twice. They work best, however,
with everyday practice.
yourself. Start with the NIH Institutes (www.nih.gov) that support research on your type of pain.
regularly. Whatever your age, and even if your mobility is limited, you can benefit from simple stretching and other
exercise. Activity increases flexibility, range of motion, and stamina.
a support group. Share feelings and coping strategies with others facing similar problems. Ask your doctor for names
of groups in your community. Or look for organizations serving persons with your illness under "Social Services" in the yellow
pages of your local phone directory. You also can find support groups on the Internet. Use any search engine, and type in
the name of your illness. Home pages of many national organizations provide information on joining support groups in your
community or online.
National Institutes of Health, Pain Research Consortium website. Available at: http://www1.od.nih.gov/painresearch/genderandpain/managing.htm