Talk to your Doctor

Do not suffer in silence. Tell your doctor about any pain even if you do not think it can be relieved. Most pain can be reduced to a bearable level, even if it’s not completely controlled.

A Pain Assessment Guide (179kb pdf) can help you discuss any pain you may have with your health professional. You may find it useful to complete this guide at different periods of time to keep a record of how your pain varies. It is also important to complete this assessment after you have taken a medicine to decrease the pain, as it will help your health professional identify if you are taking the right medication and the right amount of that medication.

Write down what you want to ask your doctor:

  • What is causing my pain? When is it likely to get better or worse?
  • What can be done for pain relief? Ask your doctor about pharmacological (or medicine) and non-pharmacological (alternate) options to alleviate pain

If you are prescribed pain relieving medication ask the person prescribing it:

  • How long will it take to work?
  • How often should I take it?
  • What should I do if I still have pain?
  • What are possible medication side-effects? How can the side-effects be managed?
  • What are the other options if the medication doesn’t work?
  • Who should I call if I have more questions about pain relief?
  • Who will I continue to see about my pain relief? 



Effective pain relief is dependent upon an in-depth pain assessment; therefore it is important that you discuss your pain with your health care provider.


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Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.

Last updated 30 August 2015