Control. That may be one thing few of us feel during the current pandemic. Many aspects of our lives seem beyond our control, at the mercy of a strange virus and its accompanying restrictions.
Some good news. If you are experiencing chronic pain, here’s an area where you can actually take some control by use of a pain diary or journal. Does writing help pain? Not directly, of course, but a pain diary can lead to greater knowledge – and when dealing with chronic pain, knowledge is power.
pain diary


    o It can help you discover triggers.
    o It can help you discover patterns to your pain.
    o It can help you determine what things have helped – and what things haven’t


  • Your doctor isn’t living your pain – you are. The more detailed your entries, the more likely your doctor will understand the true nature of your pain.
  • By understanding the true nature of your pain, your doctor will be aided in matching the best treatments to it.


  • Record the date and time.
  • Be consistent. Decide if you want to make one entry at the end of the day to summarize your pain experiences for that day OR if you want to make multiple entries throughout the day. Some doctors recommend making three entries: morning, midday, and bedtime, remaining as consistent as possible to these times.
  • Describe the location of the pain. Was it in a specific spot? Did it move around?
  • Describe the intensity of the pain. Use the familiar “1 to 10 scale,” with 10 being the worst pain you have ever experienced. If you are making three entries per day, you can add up your scores and divide by three to come up with a pain “score” for that day. If there was a fluctuation in intensity, describe that too.
  • Describe the duration of the pain. Was it fleeting? Or constant? Did anything affect this?
  • Use specific language to describe the pain. Was it burning? Throbbing? Stabbing? A dull ache?
  • Identify what you were doing right before the pain and possible triggers. Were you dealing with a high-stress situation? What did you have to eat? What physical activity were you engaged in?
  • Record what steps you took to alleviate the pain. Did you take any medication? If so, record the name and strength. Did you try non-medicinal treatments such as meditation or a hot shower? How did they affect your experience of the pain?
  • Record negative side effects to medications or interventions or even from the pain itself. Did medications cause any unwanted effects such as acid reflux or constipation? Did the pain interfere with daily activities? Did it interfere with your sleep? Did it cause emotional or psychological problems such as frustration or depression?

The goal of this journaling is not to have you overly focus on your pain but to better arm you in the fight against it. With the details from your diary, you and your doctor can work together more effectively to manage your chronic pain.

Contact Michigan Pain Consultants Today

Make an appointment for a new patient consultation with one of our board-certified pain physicians. All of Michigan Pain Consultants’ physicians are Board Certified in Anesthesiology or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and have advanced training and experience in Pain Medicine. You can begin first by visiting online at,, or by calling them at (800) 281-3237.

Michigan Pain Consultants – Better Treatments. Better Life.

With six locations throughout West Michigan, Michigan Pain Consultants comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to pain care offers patients and providers renewed hope for relief from chronic pain. Chronic pain should be treated like other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or congestive heart failure. Chronic pain requires chronic treatment. The goal of the treatment is to optimize the management of the pain, as opposed to curing