Why Can the Cause of Pain Be So Hard to Diagnose?

“The experience of pain is different for every person, and there are various ways to feel and describe pain. This variation can, in some cases, make it challenging [for GPs] to define and treat pain” [1]. So to that end, whether you are suffering from short or long-term pain, and whether you are experiencing the pain in one region, or all over your body – the smart move is to book an in-person or online appointment with a Specialist Pain Doctor as soon as possible

An Overview

Pain consultants undergo substantial training in the field of pain and conventional and state-of-the-art treatments and therapies. They are at the cutting-edge of understanding pain research and the development of new solutions. – And it is for these reasons that they are credited with having a far more extensive knowledge about pain, than general practitioners (GPs). Moreover, Pain Doctors have, and continue to gain, the best possible experience in specialist hospital and clinic settings.

Getting a Diagnosis

Firstly, it is important to know that each and every person’s subjective description of their pain, helps the Pain Doctor with their diagnosis. Moreover, as there is no objective scale for distinguishing which category of pain a patient is suffering from; when you have your first consultation, the Pain Specialist will review your medical records, and then discuss your pain history. They will then ask you for detailed information about your pain; so to that end, it is a good idea to compile a daily Pain Diary. This should have 24 hour slots for each day. – That way, you can note down what you were doing just before the pain came on, how long it lasted, and what you were doing when it wore off. You should write down the symptoms, and the level of pain you experience.

Questions Your Pain Doctor May Ask

• Where is your pain emanating from?
• Does the pain radiate to other areas?
• What is the character of your pain (e.g. stabbing, stinging or burning)?
• What factors ameliorate or aggravate the pain?
• What time of day does the pain come on?
• How long does the pain usually last for?
• How severe is the pain?
• Does the level of severity change throughout the day?
• Does the pain you are suffering from effect you mood and daily functioning? [1]

“Several systems can identify and grade pain. However, the most important factor in getting an accurate diagnosis is clear communication between the individual and the Pain Doctor” [1]

What Does The Pain Consultant Use to Measure Pain?

• Numerical rating scales: which measure pain on a scale of 0–10, (0 refers to no pain; while 10 refers to very severe pain)
• Verbal descriptor scale: measures levels of pain in autistic people, seniors, and those with dyslexia. (Rather than using numbers; in order to narrow down the type of pain, the Specialist asks various descriptive questions)
• Faces scale: in this case, the Pain Doctor shows the patient a range of expressive faces ranging from happy to distressed. This method has had favourable responses from patients with autism, as well as from those who find it hard to describe their pain
• Brief pain inventory: in this case, the Pain Consultant gives the patient a detailed written questionnaire. This includes questions about how their pain impacts their mood, sleep patterns, activity, and relationships. Moreover, it also charts their pain timeline. – This allows the Pain Doctor to see any distinctive patterns [1].


[1]. Felman, A. (2024). “What is pain, and how do you treat it?” Medical News Today.