Data Does It   2 comments

One of the things I have learned at my job as a psychologist/behavior analyst (my current job) is that “Data is King” when it comes to the medical profession and what some people call Behavioral Services.

When going to see a doctor, of any kind — neurologist, cardiologist, pain specialist, psychiatrist, etc — having data with you for a visit will give you an A+ for that visit.  Why, because doctors like to see data; they believe in evidenced based care and for many, they don’t want to hear stories of what’s going on, they want just the facts.

It’s not how I work with people, but this is what I learned to do when I was going to see doctor’s and it has been reinforced as a practice with the team that I work on.  So do yourself a favor, set a doctor’s appointment which often will take a some time to get in… and start documenting.

Now, I know you will say, but I am in pain, I can’t think straight, etc.  You know what, you can start off by buying a cheap calendar and putting an “X” on the day of the week that you have a headache.  It’s a start and it’s data.  But using a journal like I have attached here as a PDF can help you to “make friends and influence” the outcome of your treatment.  Here is the document:  Migraine Journal

On this journal, you want to mark down the date and time… why?  Are you waking up with headaches?  That can be common with people who have sleep apnea.  Have them every Friday.. that could be a “let down” headache/migraine and stress reduction could help a lot.

Next, write down the severity of the pain on a scale of 0-10, with 10 unbearable pain. Why, it will help you to understand what treatments worked on what kind of pain.  It will also help if you look at the amount of triggers and the pain, or how quickly after you start to feel the pain you start some medicine.

Now, you want to fill in any warning signs that you might remember… why, because the sooner you start things like medicine, being in a dark room, ice, etc, the better your chances at having less discomfort.  Don’t assume that they are going to be auras — what most people think of like lights flickering.  Things that I realized were impending signs:  extreme mood shift for no reason, stuffy or runny nose, stiffening neck/shoulder muscles, food cravings, flushing in my checks, and many other things.

Next, document possible triggers… more about this in another blog post… but for now, common ones are food, menses, lack of sleep, dehydration, barometric changes, and stress.

Let the doctor know what has worked and not worked by marking down the treatments that you’ve tried… a frozen bag of peas on the back of the head and neck, being in a dark room, laying down/standing up, sleeping, caffeine, prescription medication, yoga, biofeedback, etc.

Why do all this?  Because you can change your life?  We have better treatment outcomes when we feel empowered and we feel like we can make a difference.  Think about the last time you felt like something was “done to you”, where your hands were tied and you had no hope.  That’s exactly what you feel, hopeless and hopelessness is not going to help with stress reduction.

Why am I suggesting all this?  Because it worked for me.  Read websites, books, articles, talk to people with pain-related illnesses, this is going to help.  You will start to see trends, learn that maybe you are waiting too long before taking meds, etc.  This gives you the power to change your life.

So do yourself a favor… get prepared, learn to speak the language of medicine (allopathic or behavioral)… show up with your data, a list of medications, and a list of questions.  Empower yourself.  Be your own advocate because I hate to say it, but no one else will be if you don’t!

Wishing you wellness and comfort.

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Posted March 21, 2012 by Namaste -- Seeking Peace in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Data Does It

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  1. Reblogged this on Namaste Consulting Inc. and commented:

    Here is a tool to help you manage your pain symptoms and your doctor’s visits

  2. Pingback: For Love. . . « Mindful Lifestyle – Devoted to Healing & Being

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