By Margaret A. Caudill-Slosberg, MD
July 11, 2008
Before you can do anything about your pain, you need to acknowledge that it exists. However, you may also feel inclined at this point to blame others for your misery. Or, perhaps you are upset because you think your doctors have failed you by not finding and curing the source of the pain. Maybe you think your loved ones are not doing anything to help you, or are showing a lack of understanding or empathy about your problem. You may even feel that society is to blame for causing the situation that put you in pain in the first place, or for not making it easier for you to seek help.
The fact that you may be sad, angry, or anxious about the disruption of your whole life as a result of the pain experience is both understandable and normal. Indeed, many people in pain put their whole lives on hold waiting for others—their physicians, their families, or society—to take it away. The difficulty with this, however, is that wanting to give away both the pain and the responsibility for it will only prolong and contribute to your feelings of powerlessness.
An important way to gain control over your pain is to record it in a pain diary so that you can see how certain factors like activities, weather, tension and sleeplessness increase or decrease your pain levels. At the same time, three times a day rate your physical sensation and emotional response to pain. Learning to rate your pain, monitor your physical sensations and activities, and tracking your emotional responses will provide you with valuable insights into what is going on.
Rating 0 No painful physical sensation. No alteration in activities. No negative emotional response.
Rating 2–4 Low intensity of physical sensation. Minimal affect on activities and minimal/low level of negative emotions.
Rating 5–6 Moderate intensity of physical sensation associated with increased body tension. Moderate restriction of activities and moderate intensity of negative emotions.
Rating 7–8 Significant pain sensation associated with difficulty moving. Decreased activities. Significant negative emotions which make it hard to engage in activities.
Rating 9–10 Severe pain sensation associated with inability to move. Able to participate in only minimal activities or bedridden. Severe depression, anxiety, or despair associated with significant impairment of thinking.
Printed from Oprah.com on Wednesday, March 12, 2014