What To Do If Your Doctor Doesn’t Believe You Are In Pain
December 4, 2012
Pain is a highly subjective medical concern. Unlike broken bones and measurable illnesses, pain is different for each person. Some patients fear that their physician won’t believe them when the patient says they’re in pain. This can apply to acute pain or even long-term, chronic pain in any area of the body. So why might a doctor dismiss a patient’s claim that they’re in pain?
The Drug Dilemma
On a regular basis, doctors are faced with patients seeking unneeded pain medications for illegal, recreational use. Over 125,000 people a year die from adverse medication interactions in hospitals alone. This does not include non-hospital recreational use and addictions. This can lead your doctor to become jaded and suspicious. Unfair? Yes. So, what can you do? The first step is to become better informed about your condition and any related pain that it causes. Next, maintain a pain diary to better inform your doctor of what you are going through. The American Chronic Pain Association provides helpful tools for communicating the timing, location, and intensity of pain to your doctor. Showing your doctor a record of your pain levels will legitimize your statements.
Learn About Your Condition
The more you know about your medical condition, the better you can communicate with your doctor. Being better informed alters the relationship you have with your doctor. When you can discuss the causes of your pain more knowledgeably and specifically, your doctor is more likely to listen. This is especially true with soft tissue pain, such as whiplash and Fibromyalgia, which can be difficult to assess and measure. These medical issues do not show up on x-rays or MRIs and there are no conclusive tests that can be performed. This doesn’t make them any less painful, but it can be difficult for your doctor to accept your descriptions of pain without proper descriptions of what’s causing your pain, or how it feels. Being better informed about your overall health and medical conditions empowers you and improves your treatment’s effectiveness. Rather than suffering the depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness that often accompany chronic pain, you can take better care of yourself as you search for solutions.
Consider The Alternatives
Pain medication is a miracle for those who need it, but the side-effects can be as devastating and debilitating as the condition itself. Before throwing in the towel and resigning yourself to a life of pain, consider the alternatives and exhaust all safe, conservative options first. Physical rehab, massage, and acupuncture have provided relief to millions of pain sufferers. If none of those efforts produce results, consider interventional pain management. Interventional pain management avoids many of the problems associated with drug intervention by injecting a mild anesthetic with a diluted steroid injection directly into the pain site, reducing or eliminating the pain without adversely affecting other parts of your body. Unlike cortisone injections, which can damage the surrounding tissue while only providing temporary relief, interventional pain management provides an effective, safer long term solution.
It is a frightening and frustrating experience when your doctor does not believe that you are in pain. If your doctor simply will not listen, please find another doctor.
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AuthorDr. Todd Luther
Dr. Luther is a Washington local and comes from a family of health care practitioners including a medical doctor, OB Nurse and Nurse Midwife. Practicing since 2005, Dr. Luther is confident in providing the correct diagnosis, treating your problem or referring to the correct specialist. The most common conditions he treats are back & neck pain, headaches, numbness into the arms & legs, stiffness and poor posture. Most of his clients are athletes and office workers.
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