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, she always asks me to color in on a diagram where my pain is located. I have trouble with this because it feels like it's in more than one place. I can't really put my finger on an exact spot. Am I so unusual from the average patient? Can everyone else color in these charts?

You are actually much more of a typical case than not. Very few people with musculoskeletal pain really have just one pinpoint area of pain. When asked, most have widespread pain and symptoms. That's why a drawing of this type is helpful. Instead of focusing on one problem area, you can let your physician know the whole picture. This can be helpful when evaluating a problem or prescribing treatment. Diagnosing and treating local pain only addresses a small part of the problem. In fact, there's some recent research from Norway that shows localize pain may not really even exist. It's much more likely that patients are like you -- they come in with a specific problematic area (e.g., head, neck, shoulder, back), but when asked, they report many other areas of similar painful symptoms. Putting the whole picture together shows how function is affected by increasing areas of pain. A local area of pain isn't as likely to reduce daily physical or social activities like widespread pain does. So be sure and indicate every painful area on the chart. If you can't isolate it to a single pinpoint, then use the pencil to shade in the region affected. You'll get a much more accurate diagnosis when you provide the complete information about yourself and your condition.


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