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How to Describe Back Pain to a Doctor? Top Back Pain Doctors Tell All

Dec 15, 2019

HARVARD TRAINED PAIN DOCTORS | VOTED #1 PAIN CENTER | PAIN TREATMENT SPECIALISTS

We’ve all had moments where we’re at a loss for words. You might try to ask a colleague to borrow their stapler, but what comes out is, “You know… that red clippy thing that’s on your desk!” After a few tries trying to decipher your request, your co-worker understands that the missing word is “stapler”, and shakes their head at your forgetfulness. As long as your request is understood eventually, there’s no harm done.

People with back pain live with an area of the body that’s been hurting for so long, the pain now seems like a “normal” part of their life. When they go for a doctor visit to discuss their medical history, acute low back pain, and neck pain, it can be hard to find the words to describe the feelings that exist all the time. If there was a manual for “how to describe back pain to a doctor”, this would be the time to use it! At Pain Treatment Specialists, a team of interventional pain doctors with Harvard training, we’re here to help write the book on how to describe back pain to a doctor. After all, as a team of nationally-renowned pain doctors, we’ve heard patients lack the ability to accurately explain their chronic back pain because it is an omnipresent pain that is difficult to describe. Not sure how to describe back pain to a doctor? Let our pain experts help.

How to Describe Back Pain to a Doctor Accurately

People with back pain know that they have an area of the body that hurts, but may struggle to come up with an accurate description of their pain. If you’re looking for how to describe back pain to a doctor accurately, here are some tips from the Harvard-trained pain doctors at Pain Treatment Specialists:

  1. Keep a Pain Journal: A great tip for how to describe back pain to a doctor is to keep a pain journal that details your activities and pain levels in the weeks before your doctor’s visit. This allows you to reference specific incidents or activities that were difficult recently. Take a look at the following tips to help you develop the language and vocabulary for how to describe back pain to a doctor.
  2. Describe the Intensity of Your Pain: If you’ve seen pain charts with smiling or angry faces in your doctor’s office, this is what’s used to describe the intensity of your pain. When you’re sitting or standing, is the pain mildly annoying, or is it enough to bring you to tears? Use this scale to help you describe your pain levels during different activities such as sitting, standing, bending over, walking, or driving.
  3. Use Specific Words to Describe Your Pain: If you’re unsure how to describe back pain to a doctor, search for words that describe the feeling of your pain. This can help your pain doctor determine if you’re dealing with issues like a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease, or a muscle strain or sprain. Some questions to help you isolate your words include:
  • What does your pain feel like? Words such as “stabbing”, “shooting’, “aching”, or “electric tingling down arm or leg” are useful for how to describe back pain to your doctor.
  • Does your pain change over time? If you experience pain only at specific times, such as at night, while sitting, or when waking up, these are important to note. Also, does the pain change when moving from one activity to the next? This is where your pain journal comes in handy.
  • What’s the severity of your pain? Think about the smiling and angry face chart when writing in your pain journal. Do some activities only cause mild irritation, while others are excruciating?
If you’re searching for a “back doctor in NYC” or are unsure of what type of doctor do I see for back pain, look for pain doctors that offer back pain treatments in NYC that do not resort to surgery or narcotics to treat chronic pain.

4. Identify the Area of Your Pain: Isolate the area of your body that is experiencing pain. Is it your arm or leg? Do you feel neck pain? Are you struggling with acute low back pain? Knowing how to describe back pain to a doctor begins by identifying areas of concern.

5. The Timing of Your Pain is Important: If you have intermittent pain, that means that your pain comes and goes, but is not constant. Variable pain means that some level of pain is always present, but varies in intensity with different motions or activities. Understanding these pain patterns helps your pain doctor create a treatment plan to provide pain relief for each patient.

6. Describe Your Daily Functionality: How does your chronic back pain limit your daily activities? If there are specific activities or motions that you cannot complete due to crippling pain, these are important to note. Knowing how to describe back pain to a doctor also includes a description of activities that you can complete without pain.

At Pain Treatment Specialists, we know how to describe back pain to a doctor, because we listen closely to our patients’ pain concerns and create customized pain management plans based on their pain. Knowing how to describe back pain to a doctor accurately ensures that you as a patient provide your pain doctor with a good picture of what your daily pain concerns include. If you were unsure how to describe back pain to a doctor, utilize the tips provided here by top pain doctors to provide the best information possible about your chronic back pain.

Meet our

Board Certified Team

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TripleBoardCertified
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George Hanna MD

Director of Pain Management | Double Board Certified


Pain Management
Anesthesiology

Harvard Medical School
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital


Dr. George Hanna is a nationally recognized pain management specialist and double Board Certified in anesthesiology and pain management medicine.
Dr. Hanna is currently available at Pain Treatment Specialists in Manhattan and Clifton, NJ.

Namrata Khimani MD

DOUBLE BOARD CERTIFIED | NEW YORK PAIN Specialist


Pain Management
Venous Medicine

Harvard Medical School
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Columbia: NY Presbyterian Hospital


Dr. Namrata Khimani is a leader in the field of pain medicine. She is one of a select number of physicians who have passed the rigorous certification process to become a nationally recognized pain specialist by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Born and raised in New York, Dr. Khimani earned her undergraduate degree from Columbia University and went on to graduate from Harvard Medical School with honors.

Michael Nguyen MD

TRIPLE Board CERTIFIED | NEW YORK & NEW JERSEY pain specialist


Pain Management
Venous Medicine
Aesthetics

Harvard Medical School
Brigham & Women’s Hospital


Dr. Michael Nguyen is world renowned in Pain Medicine. Dr. Michael completed his residency and advanced Pain fellowship training at Harvard Medical School. During his tenure at Harvard, Dr. Michael was awarded the “Mentor of the Year” and also “Teacher of the Year” award. After graduating, Dr. Michael taught for two years at Harvard – training new graduates on the latest modern advances in interventional pain management for multiple pain ailments.

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Meet our Board Certified team

Dr. Khimani - New York Best Pain Management Specialist
pain management doctors
pain doctor near me

George
Hanna MD

Double Board Certified
Director of Pain Management
Harvard Medical School
Dr. George Hanna is a nationally recognized pain management specialist and Double Board Certified in anesthesiology and pain management medicine. Dr. Hanna is currently available at Pain Treatment Specialists in Manhattan. He is now accepting most major medical insurances, including Medicare.
Read more >>

Namrata
Khimani MD

Double Board Certified
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Namrata Khimani is a nationally recognized leader in the field of pain medicine. She is one of a select number of physicians who have passed the rigorous certification process to become a nationally recognized pain specialist by the American Board of Anesthesiology.
Read more >>

Michael
Nguyen MD

Triple Board Certified
Harvard Medical SChool
Dr. Michael Nguyen is world renowned in Pain Medicine. Dr. Nguyen completed his residency and advanced Pain fellowship training at Harvard Medical School. During his tenure at Harvard, Dr. Nguyen was awarded the “Mentor of the Year” and also “Teacher of the Year” award. After finishing at Harvard, Dr. Michael Nguyen taught for two years at Harvard – training new graduates on the latest modern advances in interventional pain management for multiple pain ailments.
Read more >>
How to Describe Back Pain to a Doctor? Top Back Pain Doctors Tell All ultima modifica: 2019-12-15T00:54:25-05:00 da VA