Whether you have been battling chronic pain for more than a decade or are just starting t deal with persistent aches and soreness, a pain journal can help you document what you are feeling daily. The pain journal is where you write down everything related to your chronic pain; what kind of pain you have, what level of pain you are experiencing, what you were doing while you were in pain, and so on.
Why pain journal works for chronic pain
The information from the journal is useful both for you and the doctor. It can help identify pain patterns such as time of day or level of stress, or pain triggers from certain activities. A pain journal can also show what doesn’t increase your pain, which is great because it can help you make better decisions about spending your day.
Additionally, a pain journal app can act as a reference when memory doesn’t serve you well [ for example, if you’re not sure which answer to give the doctor when asked what time your pain becomes worse].
Things that you should include in your pain journal
When it comes to pain journals, people use them differently; they include different information. But most practitioners recommend that you include the following information:
A pain scale rating
Most pain scales use the 0-10 rating system. 0 represents no pain, and 10 represents the worst imaginable pain. Your pain will fall somewhere in between.
Pain descriptor words
Pain descriptor words are burning, tingling, pulsating, etc. Using pain descriptor words can help you to track changes and patterns in your pain quality. It can also assist the doctors in pinpointing your type of pain.
Track the time of the day when pain occurs
You should include the time of the day when you feel much pain. Is it in the morning or the evening? And how are your afternoons?
Note what you are doing when the pain begins.
When your pain began, you should note you out of bed, or had you been sitting for a while when the pain started? Were you exercising or overstretching certain muscles in your body. It would help if you wrote down how you feel after certain activities such as walking the dog or playing with the kids.
Look at elements that might contribute to your pain.
Think about the external factors that may trigger or add pain. The elements can be rain or cold. They may cause stiff joints to ache more.
Write down what you ate and drank that day.
The food and beverages that you take may contribute to or worsen the pain you are experiencing. Write down everything that you consumed the day that you feel pain.
Describe your mood
It’s also vital that you note your mental state and how you feel when experiencing pain. Are you anxious, depressed, or fatigued? The pain might be triggering these emotions. Your doctor may recommend that you see a mental health specialist to deal with these emotions because of chronic pain.