My Pain Feels Like...
Initiative to support pain patients
Pain can take many forms and affects people in very different ways. Neuropathic pain is a disease with a significantly high number of 26 million sufferers worldwide1. The urgent need for a change in diagnosis and treatment management becomes obvious when only 40-60% of these patients succeed in achieving adequate pain relief2.
This is often due to insufficient communication between patients and doctors as many patients have difficulties in how to express and explain the way their pain feels like. As a consequence in 80% of cases physicians over- or underestimate the level of pain-related impairment of their patients3.
The international initiative “My Pain feels like…” started in 2013 in collaboration with the Montescano Pain School, Italy. The aim is to improve communication between physician and patient. If both have the same understanding of the impact and type of pain a patient is suffering from, chances to get a correct, early diagnose and a satisfying treatment success will be higher.
In order to reach this objective Grünenthal launched an educational website for patients: www.mypainfeelslike.com. Patients can find out more about pain, read about other patients’ experiences, and fill in a pain questionnaire.
In 2014 and 2015, Grünenthal presented the “My pain feels like…“initiative twice at the European Parliament. For further information, please click on the following links
My Pain Questionnaire
The website www.mypainfeelslike.com offers a questionnaire, helping patients to describe how they perceive their pain, where the pain is allocated and how it affects their daily life. Patients can record their symptoms and print out the summary result for their next doctors’ appointment. As it is often hard to find the right words describing one’s pain in a short-time doctor’s appointment, this questionnaire gives many concrete examples and supports patients in preparing the consultation.
Using the pre-filled questionnaire can support health care professionals in the diagnostic process and in finding an appropriate treatment for their patients. Terms patients can select to describe their pain e.g. “electric shocks on the skin”, “severe pins and needles” are translated at the end of the questionnaire in terms physicians are familiar with. In the examples given, the terms “shooting pain” and “stabbing pain” would be listed in the result of the questionnaire, terms patients would not necessarily use to express themselves, but which give the physician a more clear and understandable picture of the patients symptoms.
Matching the language of patients and physicians is only one useful feature the “My pain feels like…” website is offering to improve communication between patients and physicians aiming for a higher treatment success. Find out yourself on the My pain feels like… website.
"Pain like a spider crawling under my skin"
1 Pal M et al (2009). Vanilloid receptor antagonists: emerging class of novel anti-inflammatory agents for pain management. Curr Pharm Des 15:1008-26
2 Dworkin RH, O'Connor AB, Backonja M, et al (2007). Pharmacologic management of neuropathic pain: evidence-based recommendations. Pain;132:237–51
3 Müller-Schwefe G., et al (2011). Make a CHANGE: optimising communication and pain management decisions. CMRO 27(2):481-488