You may simply want to beg your doctor to please take the pain in your hip (or knee or back ) away. But the more details you offer, the better his or her pain plan will be. Below are a few suggestions about how to talk about arthritis pain and get results.

  • Keep a diary. Before you even set foot in the doc’s office, keep a diary for a week, suggests Tanya Edwards, MD, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “Note when the pain is worse: morning, noon or night. Do any home treatments like ibuprofen work? How does it limit your activities? What makes the pain better or worse? Any foods? Barometric pressure?”
  • Number your pain. Be prepared to rate your pain from one (for a tiny pain) to 10 (for a hospital-bound pain), says Dr. Edwards.
  • Limit your points. Tell your doctor only your three most pressing concerns, says Mehul J. Desai, MD, director of Pain Medicine and Non-Operative Spine Services at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. “It can be overwhelming for a physician to be told 15 things.”
  • Talk about function. “Say the ways that the pain stops you. ‘It keeps me from walking and shopping,’” says Dr. Desai. “That gives the physician something specific to work on with you.”