Managing Chronic Pain with Fibromyalgia
One of the worst feelings in the world is being totally encumbered by physical pain, struggling to get through everyday tasks while keeping chronic pain under control, only to be told this pain is “all in your head." Recent studies show that may be true, but not in the way most people think!
It is not an uncommon occurrence to hear about patients going to their doctors with severe pain only to come back home with no solutions. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, the most common reason for patients to seek out medical expertise is due to pain. Unfortunately, 20% of patients who go to the doctor to find pain relief are unable to discover the root cause of the problem.
Part of the issue may not be the application of treatment, but rather, how doctors and patients both think of pain. According to Richard Harris, Ph. D., associate professor of anesthesiology and rheumatology at Michigan Medicine, often, when patients experience pain, they think about how intense the pain is rather than how widespread it is.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that leads to a lot of pain, and it can also make patients feel as if they are suffering from the flu every day. One of the most common ways to “fix” the pain caused by this condition is to follow the principles of the LOCATES scale. This scale requires the individual to maintain a diary about their pain and should include details about when they felt the pain. This diary can be written with the help of the LOCATES acronym:
- L for location, meaning you try to identify where the pain is mainly located and what other areas of the body it is traveling to.
- O for other forms of associated symptoms along with the pain, wherein the individual can pen down if they are also experiencing any other issues apart from pain, such as if they are feeling nauseous all of a sudden or weak or lightheaded, and so on. It is important to write down the details of the symptoms to make it easier during the diagnosis stage.
- C is for the character of the pain, where you describe what type of pain it is, such as a dull pain, a sharp, shooting pain, or a burning pain.
- A is for aggravating factors, wherein you can mention whether the pain worsens when you stand or carry out any activity, or if it is better when you are lying down.
- T is for the timing of the pain, which includes when the pain occurs, how long it lasts, and if it is constant or on and off.
- E is for environment, such as where you are when the pain occurs, whether you are at work, the gym, or at home. When you are noting down the details of your pain, it is important to think clearly and write down the details.
- S is for severity of pain, wherein the individual would rate their pain on a scale of one to ten. You can also look to add comparable pains for more detail if that would be helpful for the doctor.
As an individual living with this chronic disease, one of the most important things to do is to find the right doctor, one whom you can trust and speak your mind freely. There can be cases where the doctor you visit may not be the right one for you, so it is important to carry out some research about the doctor beforehand. You can also look for ratings by patients and the reviews they’ve written about the doctor. By carrying out thorough research about the doctor and also by maintaining a pain diary with the help of the LOCATES acronym, these can significantly help you to a certain extent in managing your chronic condition and its associating pain. They can also help to bring it under control. You should be sure to adhere to what your doctor tells you and bring about healthy changes in your lifestyle.