Went to the doc the other day – the Primary Provider, not my Rheum doc. And I got the usual question:
On a scale of “1-10”, “10” being the worst, whats your pain level today??
I told them it was “5.”
If I had gone the day before, though, it would have “7.” The next day it might have been “3” or “4.” I other words, the pain is continual, and simply goes up or down, but it never goes away. I have not had a day without pain for over 20 years. And at this point, I don’t even know what a pain level of “1” would be like.
As I talk to other RA’ers, I find we all have similar stories. We simply can’t predict what our disease will so on any specific day. So when I go to a doc and my pain level is a 2, 3 or 4, I have to let the doc know what my pain level was the several days before, or even the week before to be sure s/he has the appropriate “take” on how my disease is progressing.
Because of this, it will help you and your docs if you keep a log of your pain, swelling and stiffness. I keep mine on my computer. I have it in Notepad. I put down the day of the week, date, and weather along with a code for Stiffness / Pain / Swelling. I use a 0-10 scale for each, with 0 being none and 10 being the worst possible. Yesterday looked like this:
Saturday 3/12/11 Weather partly cloudy Temp Low 34 High 68 – Stiff 5 / Pain 4 / Swell 5
I keep track of how my Rheumatoid Arthritis fluctuates according to the weather, and find there is a relationship – not an exact correlation, but a relationship between the weather and how my stiffness, pain, and swelling are. If my docs know how my disease is fluctuating, they will know whether to recommend new or different treatments for me.