Everyone's perception of pain is different, but when you get a grip on pain, it can be useful to be clear and consistent in your judgment about what & # 39; ow & # 39; really mean to you.
For example, when a doctor asks you to describe your pain on a scale of 1 to 10 (the standard way to assess pain levels), your answer will inevitably be very personal – the '3' of a person can easily be the '8' belong to another person.
Your answer may vary from day to day. It is therefore useful to understand your current pain levels and your own personal pain threshold, so that you can be consistent with your perception of pain that you experience, so that your 1-to-10 scale always stays the same.
To help you do this, you take this quiz, devised in collaboration with psychologist Dr. Meg Arroll, a specialist in how we perceive symptoms and author of a book about pain in long-term circumstances.
Everyone has a different perception of pain and the & # 39; 3 & # 39; of a person can easily do the & # 39; 8 & # 39; belong to another person (file image)
The quiz helps you gain a better understanding of your personal pain perception and the many factors that may contribute. For example, it may help to reveal a high pain threshold that makes you reluctant to seek essential support.
Once you have determined whether you usually answer a, b, c or d to the questions, you will find specific advice for your type of pain.
& # 39; Pain can often seem to be directly related to the severity of an illness, injury or condition, but pain perception is an individual process that is guided by life experience, beliefs, social norms and physiological factors such as fatigue, stress response and hormones & # 39 ;, says Dr. Arroll.
"The good news is that this means that even if we are unable to address the underlying condition that causes the pain, we can change our perception to reduce the severity of the pain.
"By understanding your pain personality, you can take active steps to improve your quality of life."
Dr. Helena Miranda, 51, has had sciatica in her right hip and leg for the past ten years. She has been working in pain research since 1999
1. How old are you?
a) Less than 20
b) More than 70
c) More than 50
2. How often do you experience pain?
b) On and off
c) Light but persistent
d) It is an ongoing problem
3. How often do you unconsciously scan your body for pain or problems?
b) Occasionally, if I'm not feeling well
c) Every few days
d) Many times a day
4. Have your parents experienced a lot of pain?
a) Not more than normal
b) Yes, a parent
c) Yes, both parents
d) One or both parents experienced chronic pain
5. How much does stress affect your life?
a) Not at all
b) My stress levels increase occasionally
c) I find life pretty stressful
d) I feel overwhelmed by stress
6. When it comes to illness, how likely are you to dwell on the worst possible outcomes?
a) Not at all
b) I could briefly consider negative complications from a bad or persistent disease / condition
c) It is good to be prepared for worst-case scenarios
d) Very often – I am afraid of death and illness, and Dr. Google is my friend
7. If you have a cold, you are more likely to:
a) Just grin and tolerate
b) Take acetaminophen if you have a headache or sore throat
c) Take a range of cold and flu remedies
d) Go to bed for a few days
Between a third and half of the British live with daily pain – it is the most common reason why people see their GPs – but it is frustratingly difficult to treat (file image)
8. If you have a headache, do the following:
a) Ignore it
b) Take acetaminophen
c) Search for strong painkillers
d) Go to your bed until it is over
9. During the past six months, how many days have you been dragged into work to feel terribly ill while you may have had to stay in bed?
d) More than 5
Mood, sleep quality and stress levels, as well as prolonged pain itself, all have an effect on our nervous system and on our perception of pain
10. How well do you sleep?
a) Like a baby
b) Usually good, but I have a strange night
c) It is intermittent and I do not always get the quality that I need
d) I sleep poorly
WHAT DO YOUR RESULTS MEAN?
If you answer …
Usually one: You are very lucky to be someone who rarely experiences pain. You may be quite proud if your pain threshold seems higher than that of others, but people in this category can endanger their health by skipping screenings and possibly missing or ignoring important signs and symptoms of illness and illness.
Usually b: You experience pain occasionally and you are happy to treat it accordingly – you find a good balance between a consciousness of pain and your ability to control it. People in this category are slightly more likely to be masculine, as studies show that women are more likely to be affected by common chronic pain conditions, including migraine and tension headache, low back pain, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and osteoarthritis – and perception of living pain may increase affect pain. You can consider expanding your analgesic options with non-drug alternatives, such as body-mind exercises – including tai chi, relaxation, and breathing techniques – to address pain when it occurs.
Usually c: You probably live with some degree of pain and this may affect your experience and perception of pain (you may find it harder to deal with pain, or vice versa, to block it). Age can be a factor that contributes to your pain perception. Studies show that common joint and nerve-related pain problems (eg, back pain and headache) increase between the ages of 30 and 50 before falling away in old age. However, pain-related illnesses (diabetes, osteoarthritis, many cancers and neurological disorders) increase in frequency with age, contributing to pain in older adults. To help you deal with pain, it may be helpful to improve your sleep quality (go to bed earlier, ensure a restful sleeping environment). Try to keep your stress level under control and try to build a strong social support network, because positive social support can help.
Usually d: You probably experience pain more often than most, and processing it takes a larger part of your time and energy. This in turn can affect your pain tolerance, which can be linked to seeing your parents who are dealing with chronic pain. Stress can have a huge impact on pain perception, and many studies show that stress reduction techniques can be a useful additional element in your painful toolkit. Talk to your doctor about a referral to a specialized pain clinic where specialists can work with you to get your pain under control.
Invisible disease: dealing with misunderstood circumstances by Dr. Meg Arroll (Sheldon Press) £ 8.99
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