At the National Pain Report we’re always being “educated” by the tens of thousands of chronic pain sufferers who visit our site monthly and share their frustrations in managing chronic pain.
At a recent community forum on pain that was held by public radio station KPCC in Pasadena, California, reporter Jose Martinez shared some helpful hints that he compiled following a conversation with Dr. Felix Aguilar, the president and CEO of UMMA Community Clinic in South Los Angeles.
We thought they might be worth sharing with you:
1. Create a Relationship with Your Health Provider: You have to create a trusting relationship, which means sticking it out for a few visits.
2. Prioritize Pain Management: While traditional Western medicine might work for you, if it doesn’t, consider other forms of therapy including acupuncture, massage and meditation.
3. Find Fellowship: A support group can help you individually and also can help you navigate the health care system much easier.
4. Come to Terms with Your Pain: Many of chronic pain conditions are incurable, so focus your energy trying to manage those conditions.
5. Learn to Say No: If you don’t feel better when the doctors ask, say so. Be clear about saying, “No, I can’t live like this.”
6. Understand Your Pain: Dr. Aguilar urges you to learn everything you can about what you’re living with — the symptoms, treatment options and the prognosis.
7. Journal: Keep a diary or journal. It can help you and your doctors identify things that trigger or worsen your pain. Write down descriptions of your symptoms as they’re happening, what you ate, whether you exercised, the weather and other conditions.
8. Give Your Doctor a Chance: Doctors aren’t all knowing. But they will work with patients to get them the help they need. Frustration is normal, but give your health care provider several months to see what he or she can do.
9. Don’t Have Health Insurance? Visit a free community clinic. Providers there will at least be able to get you on the right track at little or no cost.
Do you have tips you want to share with other pain sufferers? Have any advice for families and caregivers who learn and suffer with them? What can physicians do to improve the quality of their care?