Living with chronic pain is very distressing; it reduces the quality of one’s life and has other debilitating effects on both physical and emotional health. In managing chronic pain, one has to be open to exploring different alternatives to find the right mix of activities that better the pain outlook.
One such activity is journaling, and while it may not come naturally to you as a person, it is super important for people who experience chronic pain to keep a pain diary from day to day. If you do not like writing, there are other options to explore, such as using a pain management app. This article covers why keeping a pain diary may help your pain or improve it. Please read on to learn more.
A pain diary is a journal that you can use to record how you feel daily and how your pain experience has been. You can log the times when the pain was at the highest levels, what activities triggered it, and how intense it felt. The primary way that this helps is that it helps your pain specialist or physician to help you better. You can communicate daily progress so that your treatment plan considers all necessary factors.
Here are some more reasons you need to keep a pain diary:
- Ease in communicating:
It is not uncommon to find that patients cannot adequately communicate their pain levels or the intensity of it, leaving their pain disregarded and downsized. This mostly happens when pain is so intense that the days blend into each other. Having complete information on patterns, possible triggers and frequency of episodes can make all the difference in having your physician understand your case better.
- Understanding pain triggers
Certain triggers go unnoticed because they are not taken note of. For example, some types of pain are triggered by diets or worsened by movement. By documenting things, you can see patterns or notice changes in pain levels. Taking note of all possible factors will help you understand your triggers and develop alternatives for a less painful life.
- Improved overall well-being
Studies show that having some control over your situation can make you feel like you can manage it better. It is challenging to maintain a positive mindset when you have to go through chronic pain—taking charge of one aspect of it, as simple as logging patterns, is a great start to developing healthy coping mechanisms and a better outlook. It will also help you monitor how the pain you experience affects you mentally. This is why it is advised that you also monitor your mood and general functioning.
Data to Track in Keeping A Pain Diary
You will need to track the following in your pain diary:
- Time and date of the pain
- A description of the pain. Is it an ache? Does it spread? Does it burn or throb?
- The location of the pain, its severity, and how often it happens.
- Medication taken, and how effective they were in relieving pain.
- Pain triggers like food or physical activity.
- Quality of sleep and if pain interrupted it.
- Medical and non-medical therapies that helped
- Changes in mood and energy levels
If you do not like walking around with a pen and paper all day, pain management apps like Pain Diary and Painscale are good alternatives. A pain diary helps you connect triggers and episodes, and the latter can aid you in generating reports to show your physician.
Lakeshore Pain and Spine Center helps provide comprehensive and compassionate treatment plans to people experiencing chronic pain and spine problems. Book an appointment today to get started.