Skip to content

Pain Management Health Center

Font Size

Pain Management - Knowing When Pain Is Worse

Pain can get worse slowly. So it can be hard to tell if your pain is getting worse, especially if you've had it for a while. But you can look for signs that your pain is worse. You may notice that:

  • You have new pain. The pain may be in a new area, or it may feel different.
  • Your pain treatment no longer works, or it doesn't work like it used to.
  • Your medicine wears off too soon between each dose.
  • Your pain gets in the way of daily activities such as eating and sleeping.

Using a pain scale and a pain diary can help you know how much pain you're having. These tools also can help you tell your doctor what your pain feels like so that he or she can help you. You can use these tools for short-term or long-term pain.

Use a pain scale

Health professionals often use a pain scale camera.gif to find out how much pain a person has. The scale is from 0 to 10, with "0" being no pain and "10" being the worst possible pain.

To use a pain scale, write down how strong your pain is and when it comes and goes.

Use a pain diary

Use a pain diary(What is a PDF document?) to keep a record of your pain. Write down what pain medicines you're taking and how well they are working.

Also write down anything else you're doing to control your pain. Note the details of your pain so you can tell your doctor. Is it burning? Throbbing? Steady? How long does it last?

Take your diary and pain scale and any questions with you when you see your doctor. Talk to your doctor anytime you have new pain or your pain gets worse.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    pain in brain and nerves
    Top causes and how to find relief.
    knee exercise
    8 exercises for less knee pain.
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
    chronic pain
    Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
     
    illustration of nerves in hand
    Slideshow
    lumbar spine
    Slideshow
     
    Woman opening window
    Slideshow
    Man holding handful of pills
    Video
     
    Woman shopping for vegetables
    Slideshow
    Sore feet with high heel shoes
    Slideshow
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
    man with a migraine
    Slideshow