Describing pain

One of the biggest difficulties in getting help for a ‘headache’, I’ve found, is actually describing the pain. To start with, it was just “a headache” – a headache unlike any other headache I’ve experienced, but trying to describe how it’s different from a ‘normal’ headache.. and where exactly it is.. well, then I had to get a bit more creative in my descriptions.

I’ve seen a number of quizzical expressions on medic’s faces after spouting out the following gems;

“The top of my neck feels like there’s two dirty coarse metal poles grinding against each other.” (no, really, it actually does)
“The roof of my mouth feels.. fizzy.. and my teeth hurt.. not like toothache, but like there’s a headache in my gums.”
“The ear pain is like a puff of powder exploding in my ear.”
“The nausea? Well, that’s just like the travel sickness I used to get as a kid, but no, I’m not dizzy, I just feel like I’m moving, and sometimes the room moves sideways.”

And where is it? Where in my head? I don’t know!! It’s just.. in there!!

It can be a lonely experience, trying to describe pain. I just don’t know the right words to convey how it feels, and if I did, how would I know, anyway? How do I know that the other person knows how I’m feeling?

How could you ever know if anyone has experienced the same pain?

cat-rests-his-head-on-a-table

Gratuitous and almost totally unrelated picture of a cat.

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