Illinois Cognitive Resources Network

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How to Describe Pain to My Doctor

Many people have a hard time describing pain. Before you head to your appointment, take some time to think about answers to these questions the doctor or nurse may ask you:

  • Where does it hurt?
  • When did the pain start? Does it come and go?
  • What does it feel like? Is the pain sharp, dull, or burning? Would you use some other word to describe it?
  • Do you have other symptoms?
  • When do you feel the pain? In the morning? In the evening? After eating?
  • Is there anything you do that makes the pain feel better or worse? For example, does using a heating pad or ice pack help? Does changing your position from lying down to sitting up make it better?
  • What medicines, including over-the-counter medications and non-medicine therapies have you tried, and what was their effect?

Learn more about pain and how to discuss it with your medical team on the NIA website.

Published by Chrishun Brown

Communications Manager for the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center

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