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Body Pain

Person sitting while holding her back and head in pain

Tracking your body pain can help you and your doctor develop a plan to manage it. 

Credit: iStock

What Is Body Pain?

Pain is an unpleasant feeling in your body that causes physical discomfort. Everyone experiences and expresses pain differently. Pain can be caused by a brain or spine tumor, cancer treatment, or medications used to treat side effects. Pain can suppress the immune system, increase the time it takes your body to heal, interfere with sleep, and affect your mood.

  • Localized pain can range from discomfort to an intense ache in a muscle or joint located in a specific part of your body, such as your face, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Radiating pain is a sharp, shooting, stabbing, burning, or electrical sensation that can travel down your neck, arm, back, buttock, or leg.

Ways to Manage Body Pain

Tracking Your Pain

Pain is not something that you have to “put up with.” Tracking your pain can help you and your doctor develop a plan to manage it. Using the My STORITM app or a journal, record the pain you are experiencing each day and what you are doing to mitigate it.

Title: Pain Tracker. Record the pain you are experiencing and what you are doing to manage it. Illustration of a book cover with the words: Record your: Location of pain; Type of pain; Timing of pain; Related symptoms

When tracking your pain, include:

  • Location of pain
    • Where is the pain located?
    • Does it hurt in one place or many places?
  • Type of pain
    • What words would you use to describe your pain (for example, burning, sharp, stabbing, tingling, loss of function, etc.)?
    • Do you also feel numbness and/or tingling?
  • Timing of pain
    • When does the pain start?
    • How long does it last?
    • Is the pain constant or does it come and go?
    • Are there certain body positions or movements that cause the pain, such as bending over or turning?
  • Related symptoms
    • What (if anything) makes the pain worse?
    • What (if anything) makes the pain better?
    • Are you feeling weak in the affected area?

Self-Care Activities to Manage Your Pain

Explore self-care activities that can help you cope with and improve your pain, including diet, exercise, and sleep.

  • Avoid alcohol if you’re taking medications for pain. 
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Some pain medications can cause constipation.
  • Talk with your doctor or care team about physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, music therapy, guided imagery, or massage therapy. These may be helpful additions to your pain management program.

When to Report Body Pain

Discuss any concerns with your doctor. Share the symptoms you’ve logged and your self-care activities.

  • Ask your doctor when and how to report your symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor if you are having trouble doing tasks that you used to be able to do—especially getting dressed, standing up, sitting down, getting in and out of your bed, or getting in and out of your car.
  • Report if you develop new pain, your pain gets worse, your pain is severe (greater than a seven on a scale of zero to 10), or your pain does not improve with your self-care activities.
  • Ask your doctor what you should do in case of an emergency and when your pain should be reported immediately. These symptoms may include sudden worsening of pain, sudden loss of strength or sensation, difficulty walking, or difficulty controlling when you go to the bathroom.
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