Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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Whenever I go see the osteopath, he has me fill out a form with a body drawing. I write on the picture where I'm having pain or other symptoms. He never asks me about what I've written. How does this information help in my treatment?

You are probably referring to something we call the pain body drawing. Patients draw lines, X's, dots, and use letters like N for numbness or S for muscle cramps on a picture of the human body. The various markings show where pain is located and what kind of pain it is. Some physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists use these body maps routinely to assess any changes in patients' pain levels and location. By looking at the pain pattern and how it changes over time, it's possible to understand more about the patient's experience. Sometimes the pain drawings reveal aspects of the patient's psychologic status, including how much emotional overlay is present. Emotional overlay refers to how much our emotions amplify (increase or magnify) the pain experience. The pain patterns themselves are divided into two different classifications: organic and nonorganic. Organic pain is presented as a clearly identifiable pattern. It occurs in the thoracic spine (middle part of the spine). Nonorganic has a strange pattern of pain all over the body with no clear pattern. Your physician may have a specific way in which he is evaluating or using the pain body drawings. To find out for sure: ask him! He will probably be happy to show you how he uses this information in preparing a plan of care for you.


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