How to Describe Pain in a Disability Hearing

Jacksonville Disability Lawyer

Many medical conditions that could qualify a person for Social Security are difficult to prove by medical evidence alone. One way to strengthen a case of this nature is to provide a detailed and vivid description of your pain and other symptoms, says a Jacksonville disability lawyer.

How to Describe Pain

Pain can come in a variety of forms, intensities, durations and frequencies. An ALJ will want to know as much as possible about your pain.

  • Is it sharp or dull?
  • Is it throbbing or consistent?
  • Does the pain come and go?
  • Is it tender when bumped or touched?
  • Does the pain increase or decrease at different points during the day?
  • Where is the pain located?
  • Are there other symptoms that come with the pain?

Symptoms that can accompany chronic pain include numbness, tingling, loss of appetite, crackling of joints, stiffness, heat, swelling and redness.

The Timing and Frequency of Pain

If your pain comes and goes, the ALJ will want to know about the timing and frequency of your pain:

  • What caused the pain in the first place?
  • Have there been times when you were free from pain?
  • What, if anything, relieves the pain?
  • What can cause the pain to occur?
  • How long have you been experiencing pain?

The Intensity of the Pain

Many health care professionals use a 10-point system to rate a person’s pain. Ten describes the most intense pain you have ever felt. An ALJ may ask you to rate your pain according to the 10-point pain scale. As a Jacksonville disability attorney may caution you, it is important to tell the truth and assign a genuine number to describe your pain. In other words, if you say 10 to describe the intensity of your pain, the ALJ may be skeptical of your testimony, since a rating of 10 for pain is meant for someone who should be hospitalized.

How Pain Affects Your Life

You will want to describe how the pain has affected your life. Many people who live with chronic pain become anxious, worried, depressed and experience difficulty concentrating. If pain has affected your life in this way, you should explain this to the judge.

A Jacksonville disability lawyer can help you prepare your testimony for your disability hearing. To make an appointment, please contact disability lawyer, John Fagan at 904-278-1000.

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