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.

About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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