Pain Diary

A pain diary is a simple, often free, tool that will help you discuss the pain you experience with your doctor and surgeon.  Read on to find out how.

Recommended Pain Diary App

Manage My Pain - This app was created with industry-leading pain researchers.

The basic version is free and allows you to produce a variety of time-limited reports.  More advanced reports can be purchased, either as a one-off (requiring the purchase of credits) or by a regular subscription.

Available for Android, iPhone and as a webapp

At the time of writing this was rated:

Android 4.5   

iPhone 4.6

(stars out of 5)

Why use a Pain Diary?

If you suffer from chronic pain than a pain diary is a definite "must have" tool.  Why?  Because pain is incredibly hard to recall and describe accurately after its passed.

Your surgeon will be asking lots of questions about your symptoms in order to help with both his diagnosis and treatment plan.  These will definitely include the location, intensity (on a scale of 1 - 10), and duration.  He may also ask what triggered it, how you dealt with it, what helped ease it, and how it affected you, mentally and physically.  But now it's feels like so long ago and the memory is hazy and that's not helped by the stress of the interview.

You may also start to doubt yourself, was it really a 5 , did it really last all night.  And to doubt him, will he believe me, will he understand how much it all hurts and how incapacitating it all is or will he think I'm exaggerating?

Well the solution is a pain diary.  This is a simple and inexpensive (often free) tool, that allows you to record all the details that your surgeon needs to know.

Become an active partner in your pain management

There are two possible strategies.

  1. Fill in your diary when, and only when, you're in pain. I found this the easiest method because I find it hard to remember to fill in the diary if I'm not in pain. The disadvantage is that if you forget to fill in the diary it implies that you weren't in pain. So it is important to keep the diary updated.
  2. The second method is to fill it in at 3 or 4 set times a day and report on how you are feeling at that time. Suggested times are: - when you wake, lunch time, supper time and before going to bed. This takes a bit more work. The disadvantage is that you might miss out a whole painful episode that occurred between the set times.

Use the data yourself

After you've used the diary for a couple of weeks it is worth analysing the data. Look for trends. Does the pain come on at a particular time of day? Is there some sort of activity that triggers it? Has the intensity stayed largely the same or changed? What helps you most?

Ask your doctor

It's also a good idea to ask the person you're providing the information to what sort of information is important to them. 

Pain is very draining. It affects our sleep, our appetite and our mood. It stops us socialising and working. Being active in your pain management is the smartest way of helping your doctor help you.

Finding a good pain app, that can be used on different platforms and has secure hosting, proved harder than I anticipated.  If you can recommend one please do let me know.

Related Links: 

Hip Pain Relief 
Hip Replacement Alternatives

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