There are many types of words we can (and do) use when describing our pain to people: sensory, affective, and medical. Sensory words are to describe the sensation of the pain itself. Someone might say their pain is burning while another might say it is aching. These would mean different things and would hopefully indicate different possible treatments depending on its severity. Affective words are more about what you feel because of the pain. For example, you could feel like you are in agony or simply say you feel beat. These words help give insight into how bad the pain is and the effects it is having on you. Doctors should be aware of not only the physical nature of the pain, but the emotional toll it is having on you (which is why things like internet-based CBT are important [more on this in my content from last week]). Then there are medical terms you may use to help pinpoint the type of injury and medications you may be using which definitely impact treatment (e.g., Advil or hemorrhage).
However, doctors may not be getting all of this information. If we had a system laid out for doctors and patients to use, there would likely be a better exchange of information. This could stop at least some of the malpractice and misdiagnosis that occurs in the medical field. It won’t solve everything, but it is worth considering how these types of information could aid in a doctor’s visit.
Citation: Wright, R. C., Junghaenel, D. U., Rivas, R., Hristidis, V., & Robbins, M. L. (2021). A new approach to capturing pain disclosure in daily life in-person and online. Journal of Health Psychology, 26(13), 2577-2591. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105320918322