How to Effectively Describe Back Pain With Your Spine Surgeon

Physician inspecting reports of patients back pain

Spine professionals are always looking for the right disorder or condition to match the symptoms their patients describe, but because back pain can be a difficult condition to diagnose and treat, many times, treatment plans tend to treat the symptoms, rather than focus on the actual cause. For patients in need of pain relief, describing back pain is one of the most effective ways to gain proper treatment from your doctor or spine surgeon. The doctors and spine surgeons searching for the right diagnosis rely on their patient’s words, because the process of diagnosis relying heavily on searching for the specific patterns and symptoms, so they can make connections and give their patients confident answers.

So, how can patients participate with their doctors to help their back pain? There are multiple methods that patients can use. Having a multitude of methods available at your disposal can be the best way to prepare for an appointment because taking an active part in your health is one of the most assured ways of finding the solutions you need to feel better.

How to Prep For An Appointment

Identifying the symptoms you experience is an essential part of the process. To begin this process, you need to have a good understanding of the factors involved with your back pain, such as:

  • The 1-10 Scale: This scale is the most commonly used scale by doctors because it establishes the level and intensity of the pain. However, most often, doctors can lack a perspective on what those numbers mean in relation to their patients. Each patient has their own unique relationship with their pain that takes into account their pain tolerance and ability during their pain experience. If you want to communicate more effectively to your spine surgeon about your pain, establish your own scale and describe to your doctor what those pain levels mean to you. For instance, while normally the numbers 1-3 refer to a mild sensation of pain, the intensity of the pain could increase by the number 5 instead of number 10.
  • LOCALES scale: The Locales scale, established by the American Pain Foundation, sets forth a specific set of questions for the patient to get a more accurate description of what the pain feels like, is located at, and what factors surrounding the pain, it usually occurs as. The Locales scale is an acronym for these topics:

    L – Location
    O – Other Association Symptoms
    C – Character of Pain
    A – Aggregating/Alleviating Factors
    T – Timing of Pain
    E – Environment
    S – Severity of Pain

  • Using Adjectives – Adjectives provide the most accurate description because they give doctors a better idea of what your pain feels like, even from an outside perspective. Some adjectives you can use are burning, stinging, stiff, sore, radiating, and aching to paint the picture for your spine surgeon accurately.

If you’ve been experiencing back pain, and have been looking for a doctor that’s compassionate and understanding of your position, then schedule an appointment with Delaware Valley Pain & Spine Institute, operated by Dr. Todd Bromberg and located in Chalfont, PA.

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