When you have pain, you may not be able to sleep. You may have trouble thinking. Pain can make it hard for you to do your day-to-day activities, such as go to work.
A pain diary is a written record that helps you keep track of when you have pain, how bad it is, and whether your treatment is helping. Keeping a diary gives you clues about your pain-when it happens, what causes it, and what makes it better or worse.
Use the pain diary to write down the time and date of your pain episodes.
The diary also helps you identify the type of pain you are having by using a pain scale. The pain scale starts at 0 and ends at 10. In this scale, 0 is no pain, and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine.
The diary also helps you track:
Used over time, a pain diary can help you and your doctor understand the kinds of things that make your pain better or worse.
Here are some things to think about while you are using your pain diary:
Your doctor will have you track your pain using the diary for a week or more. Then the two of you will meet to talk about what you have written in the diary. Your doctor may adjust pain medicine or suggest other treatments to try. After these changes are made, you may use the pain diary for another week, or longer if your doctor suggests, to track your pain and whether the new treatment is helping.
The diary is a tool that can help you and your doctor find out what works best to manage pain. You will use it as long as you both find it helpful.
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Current as of: October 14, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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