Good grief. I just came back from taking a very long survey about my chronic pain at a pain clinic. Now my back pain is worse from all that sitting. Was that really necessary? How's it going to help me?

The test results will help you in the long run. Right now the doctors, nurses, and therapists at the clinic need some information to help them put together a plan of care for you. This means understanding your pain experience -- where does it hurt? When does it hurt? What makes it better or worse?

Knowing how you think and view your pain will help guide the pain management portion of the program. Often patients will say they think one way but their inner thoughts and "self-talk" suggest something else. Positive self-talk is a fairly new treatment method being studied. Finding which patients each treatment technique will help is the key to success.

Whenever a survey or tool of this type is used there are trade-offs. Too few questions may not give the total picture of the patient. Too many questions can turn the patient off to the process.

For the moment it's good to know that someone is taking a close and careful look at your experience. The more they know about you and how you function, the more likely you'll get the help you need.

Linda S. Ruehlman, et al. The Development and Preliminary Validation of the Profile of Chronic Pain: Extended Assessment Battery. In Pain. December 5, 2005. Vol. 118. No. 3. Pp. 380-389.



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