Chronic Pain: How to Advocate for Yourself as a Black Patient

Black Patients Are Perceived to Have Less Pain Than White Patients (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Unconscious Bias

Medical Students and Doctors Have a Different Perception of Pain Levels (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Self Advocacy

It’s Vital That Black People With Chronic Pain Learn How to Advocate Effectively (Image Source: Shutterstock)

How to Describe Pain

Make an Entry Following Every Episode of Chronic Pain (Image Source: Shutterstock)
  • How long have you been experiencing the pain?
  • Where exactly is the pain?
  • Is the pain localized or is it spread over a wide part of your body?
  • What rating would you give the pain between 1 and 10 (10 being the most severe)?
  • Is the pain worse when you touch the area?
  • Is the pain always there or does it come in waves?
  • How does the pain affect your daily routine?
  • Have you identified any triggers that set off the pain?
  • Gnawing
  • Shooting
  • Stabbing
  • Throbbing
  • Cramping

Be Open About Your Concerns

  • Did your doctor ask probing questions?
  • Do you think they took your symptoms seriously?
  • Did they make value judgments about you and your condition?

Ask the Doctor Questions About Cultural Awareness

  • Are you familiar with the racial disparities for patients with chronic pain?
  • What are some steps you take to reduce the impact of bias when providing care?
  • What is your experience working with patients of color?

Remember Who the Expert Is

The patient-doctor relationship is undeniably uneven (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Conclusion

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