Organize your symptoms to make it easy for them to categorize pain in the way they learned to diagnose your condition. Write down the following (and provide him or her a copy).
- Location. Not just ‘my hip hurts’. Be specific. “The side of my hip hurts, or “the front of my hip hurts”. This immediately begins to narrow what is causing your pain (side – often bursitis, front – could be hip arthritis).
When did it start? Try to be specific, and if it started all of a sudden or gradually. This kind of example is helpful and would help; “I tripped over my cat, and felt a loud pop in my knee” (ACL tear possible).
History of your other painful conditions (be brief here). For example; “I never had any hip problems before”, or “I have rheumatoid arthritis“. This provides context.
What the pain is like. In general terms – most helpful things here are really sharp, aching, throbbing, stiffness, numbness, burning. This helps decide if the pain is from joints, muscles, nerves etc.
What makes it hurt, or when does it hurt. For example; “This shoulder pain is constant, never lets up even at night I can’t find a comfortable position (this suggests it might be bad, a tumor or infection) as opposed to “My shoulder hurts when I lift it in front of me to get something off a shelf, and I can’t lie on that side at night” (bursitis or rotator cuff problem is possible).
Leave it at that. Wait for them to ask the next questions. You have given them an excellent foundation of understanding to take over from this point. You can also describe your symptoms by visiting PainSpot.com or have a free history taken through the Pain Care Accelerator which organizes your history into a more detail, and have the report sent to your health provider.