Dr. Luke Tsang
(A family doctor trained in Australia and Hong Kong)
Most people go to see a doctor with some symptoms(病徵). When we are traveling in an English speaking country, having pains can be a common reason why we need to see a doctor there. The following might help the doctors understand your problem better and to help you quicker.
‘Where’ is the pain(痛楚)?
The pain can be in any part of the body. Point to the place that hurt most, better to use 1-2 fingers. If it is involving an area, use your hand to indicate location. If the pain is not only in one place, point to the areas that are involved in sequence.
‘When’ : how long have you felt the pain? Has it changed since it first started?
It can be minutes, hours, days or weeks, or even years ! Use a calendar or a time piece or write down the number and show the doctor. The pain can be there all that time or it may come and go. If it wax and wanes, try to think what can bring the pain and what can reduce it. Is it body posture, food, time of day, events or people ?
‘How’ : try to describe the sensation; how it has affected you.
Although pain is a common sensation, it actually is quite individualized. Some would feel that it is ‘ sharp’ (刀割似的痛) ( knife like, flash of lightning); or ‘stabbing’ (戳刺似的痛)( the pain goes deeper into the body); ‘bruising’(撞擊似的痛) (like hit by a fist or a blunt object); or ‘sawing’(拉鋸似的痛) (the pain nags, and changes intensity); or ‘pins and needles’ (many small pins and numbing feeling). Another useful way to describe pain is to try to indicate how strong the pain is. If 0 is no pain, and 10 the worst pain imaginable, try use a number between 0-10 to explain your sensation(感覺). Another important point about your pain is to describe how this sensation has affected your life. Has it reduced your sleep? Does it stop you from doing your daily activities (like talking, walking, sitting, up and down stairs, eating, enjoying your life etc) ?
Pain is a subjective/personal sensation. You are the best person to explain to the attending medical doctor how this sensation is troubling you. The more you can describe the pain, the faster the doctor is able to find the reason(s) for your problem. Therefore the quicker you can be relieved from your pain.