Superficially, this incredibly random list has few similarities, but there’s one key thing that binds it together: each snowflake, fingerprint and experience of pain is totally unique. You’d think that describing physical discomfort would be easy, but because it’s so restricted to our individual and completely personal experiences it’s actually recognized as one of the most difficult experiences to communicate.1
Realistically, in living with a chronic condition like PsA it’s likely that you’ll feel pain in lots of different ways at different times of day / month / year – from swelling in your heels to discomfort in and around your finger joints. Experiencing pain with such regularity can make it all too easy to accept the discomfort as a fact of life, but it’s crucial to be as open with medical professionals as possible in order to ensure that they’re giving you the best possible treatment and advice.
So if pain is one of the hardest things to articulate, how should you approach these conversations with your physician? The good news is that lots of medical professionals undergo training to help them understand you when you are discussing your symptoms, but there are a number of ways in which you may be able to give them a head start:
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1Ehlich, K. The language of pain. Theor Med Bioeth 1985; 6(2): 177-187. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00489662
2Fine, PG. Long-term consequences of chronic pain: mounting evidence for pain as a neurological disease and parallels with other chronic disease states. Pain Medicine 2011; 12(7) 996-1004 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21752179
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