How to Communicate Effectively With Your Healthcare Provider About Pain

“Chronic pain has emerged as a disease in itself, affecting a growing number of people. Effective patient-provider communication is central to good pain management, because pain can only be understood from the patient’s perspective” [1]. And this is why Pain Specialists prioritise listening and understanding their patients

Learn How to Communicate Effectively With Your Pain Doctor

Here are five super simple tips to help you communicate clearly and concisely on your next in-person or online Pain Relief Appointment:

Number 1

Generate an outline. Focus on your goal for the appointment, and then jot down any concerns or questions that you may have. By preparing these aspects in advance, you will create more quality time with your physician. Moreover, bringing up the outline at the beginning of your consultation, will ensure that your conversation with the Pain Specialist remains on point [2].

Number 2

Be accurate and succinct about your pain symptoms. A Pain Doctor “is more apt to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment plans if they receive clear and concise information” [1]. When describing your pain symptoms, always be detailed, and include when they started, if they are intermittent or continual, how long they go on for, how frequently they take place, whether they render anything better or worse, and if they affect your daily living [2].

Number 3

Open up to your Pain Consultant about your relationships, social obligations, lifestyle choices, and current stressors. Along with your medical history, this will provide them with a snap shot of your general well-being [2].

Number 4

Do not feel shy, and ask as many questions as you need to. You will find that your Pain Specialist will answer in easy-to-understand layman’s terms [2].

Number 5

Directly address any communication issues that you feel you may have. For example, you could say to your Pain Doctor:

• “I feel as though I’m not communicating this in a way that allows you to understand.” Or
• “Can we set up a time to discuss this further when your schedule is less busy?”

By doing this, you generate a highly productive, positive Pain Specialist-Patient relationship [2].


[1]. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making [2020]. “Improving patient-provider communication about chronic pain: development and feasibility testing of a shared decision-making tool.”

[2]. Pain Scale (2017). “Living with Chronic Pain 6 Tips for Communicating During Doctor Appointments.”