At Your Appointment

Chronic Pain Appointment Guide

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Ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Answer two questions below to personalize your appointment guide.
  • Please describe the symptoms and issues you’re having that led you to schedule this online appointment. Start at the beginning of this current episode and tell me how and when things have changed and progressed.
  • How severe is your pain? On a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the worse pain you have ever had.
  • How would you describe your pain? Sharp, dull, throbbing, burning?
  • How is your pain affecting your mood, relationships, and daily activities? Not at all, somewhat, or significantly.
  • What other symptoms are you experiencing?
  • What are your pain relief goals?
  • What other medical conditions do you have?
  • How long have you had pain?
  • How did your pain start? With an event, like an injury, or gradually over time?
  • Where do you feel pain? Is it limited to this area or does it seem to spread?
  • Is your pain constant or does it come and go?
  • What seems to make your pain better or worse?
  • What have you done to try to relieve your pain?
  • What side effects are you experiencing with your pain medicine?
  • What tests and treatments have you had so far?
  • What new symptoms are you experiencing?
  • What is chronic pain?
  • How do you diagnose chronic pain?
  • What treatments are available for chronic pain?
  • How do lifestyle factors affect chronic pain?
  • What is the most likely cause of my chronic pain?
  • Is it possible to treat the underlying cause of my chronic pain?
  • Are medications the only treatment for my chronic pain or are there non-medication options?
  • What are the next steps if this treatment does not meet my pain relief goals?
  • Are there lifestyle changes I can make to help relieve my pain?
  • Could another medicine control my pain better with fewer side effects?
  • Are my new or different symptoms related to my chronic pain or its treatment?
  • What is the best treatment plan for my chronic pain?
  • If I use a medication, what are the side effects, including the potential for addiction?
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS; Sarah Lewis, PharmD
Last Review Date: 2018 Nov 7
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Chronic Pain Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Chronic-Pain-Information-Page 
  2. Chronic Pain: Medication Decisions. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. https://www.mayoclinic.org/chronic-pain-medication-decisions/art-20360371