Have you learned how to use a pain scale yet? If so: GOOD! If not: you're in for a treat:)
Doctors usually ask you to define your pain according to some scale, and if you actually make your own system and learn how to use it this can really help you deal with your pain in a more constructive way that the regular *pain increase = PANIC = pill popping* way.
I use the model that is used at the Mayo clinic, which is a numerical scale from 0 to 10. My pain clinic in Oslo used a similar one, and my back surgery clinic in Sweden uses the VAS scale: Visual Analog Scale (pain marked by placing mark on a line ranging from 0 to 10)
The visual version can look something like this:
This is the model used at the Mayo Clinic:
0-1 No pain
2-3 Mild pain
4-5 Discomforting - moderate pain
6-7 Distressing - severe pain
8-9 Intense - very severe pain
10 Unbearable pain
My personalized version looks like this:
1-2 I am A-Okay!
3-4 May need to take a couple Ibuprofen or Paracetamol. My glance is unfocused, I'm getting nervous.
5 Pain alert.. Its getting harder to concentrate, I should probably get home ASAP and cancel any plans.
6 Bad pain: I need to take prescription pain killers and lay down
7-8 Agony: I hate my life... Focus on breathing, anything that can distract me from the pain is welcome
9 I am very weak, can hardly breathe
10 There is nothing but screaming pain. Suicide is an option.
Thankfully, these days I am rarely above 5 because I've learnt how to prevent it from getting out of hand.
The key to learning that is to identify the different stages, and to know which strategies to implement at every level.
So: What does your pain scale look like?
Start by drawing it, and write out the symptoms at each separate stage to analyze your own pain behaviour. What are your strategies today, and how can you improve them to decrease the pain at an earlier level?