The pain diary


A pain diary is used for regular documentation of pain and related information. For example, the point in time at which pain occurs and how severe it is should be recorded. The use of pain reliever medication as well as general well-being, sleep and bowel movements are also noted. The pain diary should be shown at every doctor's appointment, as this enables the doctor and patient to assess the progress and success of the respective pain therapy.

Content of a pain diary

In a pain diary everything is documented that is related to the pain or the pain therapy. There are numerous templates in which the individual information can be entered.

Every day should be for In the morning, at noon, in the evening and at night recorded whether pain has occurred. If this is the case, an assessment should be made of how strong this was and to what extent it impaired daily activity. The pain intensity is usually based on a Pain scale from 0 to 10 queried. With 0 there is freedom from pain, pain level 10 stands for the strongest imaginable pain. General well-being, bowel movements and sleep should also be noted in the pain diary. Everything that may also be relevant, such as the occurrence of the Menstruation or more stress. Another important point is the documentation of the intake of pain reliever drugs. The important things here are time and the amount of the medication taken.

A pain diary should no control instrument who observes whether the medication is being taken reliably. It represents an opportunity and not a must for the pain patient by enabling the doctor and patient alike as precise as possible observation and assessment of the complaints to get. If pain therapy is ended, it can still be useful to keep a pain diary in order to observe the progress and, if necessary, to intervene early.

Types of pain

Keeping a pain diary can be useful for all forms of pain. It is most common with chronic pain used. In general, a distinction can be made between acute and chronic pain.

Acute pain is the result of tissue damage and thus has a Warning functionin which it signals this tissue damage. For example, acute pain can lead to a Acceleration of the heartbeat, Increase in blood pressure and Respiratory rate and Sweats to lead.

Chronic pain are pain that lasts for a long time. Often this has pain no warning function - it is there even though there is no tissue damage. In principle, it is useless and often delays the healing process. In addition to pain symptoms, chronic pain can also be for example depression, Appetite disorder or insomnia to lead. The constant pain often leads to social withdrawal and thus to a deteriorated quality of life. If acute pain is inadequately treated, chronic pain can develop.

A third form of pain are recurring painthat cannot be classified as acute or chronic. They occur again and again at more or less regular intervals. examples for this are Menstrual pain or migraine. A mixed form in which it is very often recommended to keep a pain diary Tumor pain. These are pains that are triggered by tumor diseases. Both acute and chronic pain can occur and the accompanying tumor therapy can also be carried out through operations, chemotherapy or radiation causing pain.

The body stores its experiences with pain in the central Nervous system. Through the so-called Pain memory it can then happen that pain is felt even though no damage is causing it. When this happens, the pain has become a disease of its own. Therefore, the basis of any successful pain treatment is to make the correct diagnosis and thus to recognize whether there is a specific cause for the pain or whether the cause is in the nerve itself lies.

Pain analysis

If pain occurs over a long period of time, a pain diary should be kept. Over a period of time, often two to four weeks, all factors relevant to the pain are recorded.

The subsequent evaluation can often reveal previously unexpected connections. So can the pain diary previously unknown triggers or amplifiers of pain reveal. This enables the patient to react to it. Causes can be avoided or, for example, migraines that occur regularly at the beginning of the Menstrual bleeding occur early on, taking medication to relieve the pain.

Therapy goal

Another area of ​​application for a pain diary is that Establishing therapy goals. Often it is not possible to achieve complete freedom from symptoms in the case of chronic pain. The goal then is that Pain so far too to reducethat the person concerned is restricted as little as possible in their everyday life. The so-called individual treatment goal can be defined here. Since pain is felt differently from person to person, one should Pain therapy respond individually to the individual. The pain patient sets this together with the doctor individual treatment goal based on the pain scale firmly. In this way, the pain value is recorded from which the pain can be endured. The therapy is based on this value, so that the success of the pain treatment becomes more measurable.

Even small progress can be seen by keeping a pain diary, which may otherwise go unnoticed without regular recording of the pain conditions. In this way, the person affected can be made aware that the treatment is worthwhile. This can also contribute to increased motivation for further therapy.

Therapy control

Also about them Control the effectiveness of pain management, the pain diary is used. For this purpose, the pain diary should be brought with you to every visit to the doctor. The recording of the occurrence of pain conditions and all relevant influences enables an assessment of the therapy success and a planning of further treatment.

The pain diary gives Insights into the development of pain over a period of time. If the pain has improved or worsened, it can be analyzed whether there is a connection with new medication or special circumstances such as increased or decreased pain stress gives. If the person concerned is often plagued by pain or if the medication is inadequate, the doctor can consider switching to another Painkiller makes sense. Another dosage form can also be considered, as some painkillers can also be used as a plaster in addition to tablets.

The person affected gets to know his or her pain by keeping the pain diary. So he can recognize for yourself the factors that affect his pain positively and negatively and react accordingly. This is important for the success of pain therapy Adhering to the therapy plan. The use of the medication should not be stopped or changed without consulting a doctor. Other medications should also only be taken after consulting a doctor. If side effects occur, the doctor should also be contacted before the drug is discontinued without authorization.

Pain diaries for various diseases


Since the cause of fibromyalgia has not yet been clarified, treatment of the disease, which can be translated as fiber-muscle pain, must take the form of multimodal pain therapy. An important part of this is the pain diary. This enables both the doctor and the patient himself to monitor the pain during the day and over several weeks, taking into account the pain intensity at different times of the day, as well as pain-promoting and pain-relieving factors.

In the case of chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, keeping a pain diary is of great importance. The pain diary is similar to that of other pain syndromes. Templates and printouts are available either directly from a pain therapist or on the Internet free of charge.

Read more on this topic:

  • Chronic pain syndrome
  • Therapy for fibromyalgia


Pain diaries enable doctors and patients to create an optimal therapy plan for diseases with chronic pain, which not only records the current medication and its side effects, but also takes external factors into account.

For this reason, pain diaries for migraines are a very useful and helpful method to recognize patterns in migraine attacks and to be able to adapt the medication and everyday behavior accordingly. The pain diary for migraines is basically similar to that of other diseases. Templates and printouts are also available either directly from your pain therapist or on the Internet free of charge.

You might also be interested in this topic:

  • Therapy for migraines


Even with rheumatism, which describes several clinical pictures and is associated with chronic pain, a pain diary is of great importance in order to be able to optimally adjust pain therapy.

This is particularly important in view of the fact that rheumatoid arthritis typically runs in phases and is thus associated with strong fluctuations in pain intensity and stiffness of the joints. A rheumatism pain diary enables doctor and patient to recognize patterns and optimize pain medication. Apart from the current pain intensity and current medication and side effects of the same, the focus in your pain diary should also be on joint stiffness, physical exhaustion, low moods, sporting activity and the like.

Also read:

  • Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Pain diary after an accident

Accidents can sometimes lead to severe and long-lasting pain. This is particularly dangerous from the point of view that pain restricts mobility, hampers the performance of physiotherapeutic exercises and can thus prevent the injuries from healing properly.

Pain that persists over a long period of time and is not adequately treated can also become chronic and accompany the person affected for a long time. Pain diaries are a very good way of determining fluctuations in the effect of the medication, recognizing side effects in good time and thus optimally adjusting the pain therapy after the accident. Templates and printouts for this are available either directly from a pain therapist or on the Internet free of charge.