How Can a Pain Diary Help You with Pain Management?

A CDC survey revealed that 20.4 percent of Americans suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain can make it difficult to do your job and interfere with your daily life. A pain doctor should be consulted and a pain management treatment plan developed. This may include keeping a log of your pain. You can keep a pain log, or pain diary, to track pain events and triggers so that you can have a comprehensive strategy regarding your pain management.

What is a Pain Diary?

It is exactly what it sounds and looks like. It allows you to keep track of your pain experiences. This allows you to track every pain incident as it happens and may help you alleviate some of your pain. These are the symptoms that can be identified by the chronic pain journal:

  • Trends in pain occurrences like flare-ups at certain times of day or after certain activities
  • Activities that cause pain or worsen the pain can trigger events.
  • More details about symptoms
  • When pain is worse or better, it’s the time of day or night
  • The most effective treatments and therapies for pain relief

Pain Quality

The quality of pain refers to the way it feels. For a pain quality assessment, researchers identified three pain groups:

  • Paroxysmal pain: sharp, shooting, radiating, and hot
  • Itchy, tingling, or numb sensations of superficial pain
  • Deep pain: heavy, aching and cramping

Information to Enter in the Pain Diary

A pain management diary serves one purpose: to improve pain management. By providing details about your pain experience, the pain diary improves communication between you (the patient) and your doctor.

Any information that is helpful can be included in the chronic pain journal. An American Cancer Society created a daily pain journal that anyone can use. It does not necessarily have to be caused by cancer. You could have back pain from spinal disc degeneration or joint pain due to a sports injury. The diary contains the following information:

  • Date and Time
  • Score for pain
  • The location of the pain
  • Pain quality
  • What were you doing when the pain began or got worse?
  • Name and quantity of medicine taken
  • Other non-medication treatments tried
  • The duration of the pain
  • After taking medication and/or receiving non-medication therapies, the new pain score

The pain scale has a 10-point range with zero denoting no pain, five denoting moderate pain, and 10 denoting the worst pain you have ever felt.

This is just one type of pain log. To get the best out of your pain journal, consult your doctor. You might want to record what you ate, drank, or how you feel. It is possible to track the effects of pain on your mental well-being. Many studies have shown a link between depression and chronic pain.

A Pain Diary Can Help Relieve Pain

A study on chronic pain caused by non-cancer causes found that pain diaries can significantly reduce pain intensity so that patients are able to walk, do regular work, and have a good quality of life. Patients also felt:

  • Overall, better moods
  • Improved communication with healthcare providers
  • Improved self-management of pain
  • They had more effective treatment plans

Studies have shown that pain journals can be used to help patients suffering from pain caused by cancer and non-cancer reasons. A study of patient-reported pain experiences showed that patients with cancer experienced some relief from their pain.

Gaining Some Control Over Your Pain and Pain Management

People with chronic pain often feel that they don’t have control over their lives or their health. The pain log gives people some level of control. It provides vital information that can be used to make informed decisions and helps the doctor understand the individual’s symptoms. In the beginning, before your treatment plan is adapted to your documented pain, you will likely make multiple entries per day and you will quickly notice patterns.

If you would like to discuss pain management and your different options with one of our doctors, do not hesitate to call Carolina Spine and Pain Centers at 864-535-0144. We have experience in helping people manage their short-term or chronic pain.