Managing chronic pain means not just reducing your pain, but regaining lost functions as well. Therefore, your physician will need to access whether or not your pain management goals such as being able to perform a particular activity or improved sleep are being met. In addition, your physician will also need to know how you are taking your medication and any side effects it may be causing.
Topics to Discuss
At each appointment, you should be prepared to discuss the following:
- Your Pain – Is your pain better or worse since your last appointment? How has it changed? Is it worse during certain times of day or activities?
- Activities You Can/Can’t Do – Since your last appointment, do you still avoid certain activities due to pain? Are you able to do any activities you were previously unable to do? How does your pain interfere with your ability to sleep, get dressed, move around, stand for a period of time, lift objects, exercise, be social/enjoy hobbies, and work?
- Side Effects/Other Concerns – Have you had constipation, nausea/vomiting, itching, fatigue, mental fogginess, dizziness, reduced libido/sex drive, or difficulty breathing? If so, for how long? What have you been doing to deal with these side effects?
- Other Treatments You are Trying or Have Previously Tried – What other therapies are you using to help with your pain (physical therapy, yoga, acupuncture, assistive devices such as a cane or walker, massage therapy, etc.)?
- Changes in Your General Health/Medication – Have you had any changes in your general health or been prescribed a new medication by another physician since your last appointment? Are you taking any new supplements or over-the-counter medications?