Whether you have been battling chronic pain for more than a decade, or you are just starting t deal with the persistent aches and soreness, a pain journal can help you document what you are feeling on a daily basis. The pain journal is where you write down everything that is related to your chronic pain; what kind of pain you have, what level of pain you are experiencing, and 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 be used to help identify patterns of pain 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 assist in making better decisions about how you can spend 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 on which answer to give the doctor when asked on what time your pain becomes worse].
- Things that you should include in your pain journal
When it comes to pain journals, people use it 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 like 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 I the evening. And how are your afternoons?
- Note what you are doing when the pain begins
You should note when your pain began, were 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. You should write 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 that arise because of the chronic pain.