How a Patient LOCATES the Solution
One way to fix this is by using the “LOCATES” scale. The “LOCATES” scale requires that patients keep a pain diary. In this diary, every time you feel pain, write an entry using the “LOCATES” acronym:
Where is your pain located? Where is it mainly painful? Where else does the pain travel?
O: Other associated symptoms
Are there other issues besides the pain? Do you suddenly feel nauseous? Are you dizzy? Feel weak or lightheaded? Make sure you make note of those things.
C: Character of the pain
What type of pain is it? Is it a dull pain? Sharp? Shooting? Burning?
A: Aggravating and alleviating factors
Is the pain worse when you stand? Is it better if you’re laying down? Write all of it down. Make note of not only the things that help but the things that make it worse.
What time is it when you are getting this pain? How long does it last? Is it constant throughout its duration or does the pain come and go?
Where are you when this happens? Are you at work? At home? At the gym? Also note who you are around. Think like a scientist. You are just making observations of everything you see. Who knows?
How strong is the pain? Usually people use a 0-to-10 scale, but if you can think of comparable pains to add extra detail, that is helpful. When I was younger, I remember telling the school nurse that it felt like my brain felt like when you have a toothache, but in your head. It sounds ridiculous, but they could tell that even if I couldn’t quite explain it in medical terms, that my pain was throbbing and sharp, allowing them to eventually realize I had migraines.