English for Medical Purposes - Pain that Comes and Goes

At the Doctor's
At the Doctor's. Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Blend Images / Getty Images

Pain that comes and goes might be chronic pain, or it might be just be something that indicates another condition. This dialogue might take place during a routine checkup, or perhaps during a trip to the emergency room, or urgent care. In all cases doctors will often ask how strong the pain is on a scale of one to ten, as well as any activity that may have caused the pain to take place. 

Pain that Comes and Goes

Doctor: How long have you been having this pain?


Patient: It started in June. So for more than five months now. My stomach hurts after some meals, but not always.

Doctor: You should have come in earlier. Let's get to the bottom of this. Have you changed your eating habits during this period?
Patient: No, not really. Well, that's not true. I'm eating the same foods, but less. You know, the pain seems to come and go.

Doctor: How strong is the pain exactly? On a scale of one to ten, how would you describe the intensity of the pain?
Patient: Well, I'd say the pain is about a two on a scale of one to ten. Like I say, it's not really bad. It just keeps coming back...

Doctor: How long does the pain last when you get it?
Patient: It comes and goes. Sometimes, I hardly feel anything. Other times, it can last up to half an hour or more.

Doctor: Is there a type of food that seems to cause stronger pain than other types?
Patient: Hmmm ... heavy foods like steak or lasagna usually brings it on.

I've been trying to avoid those.

Doctor: Does the pain travel to any other parts of your body - chest, shoulder or back? Or does it remain around the stomach area.
Patient: No, it just hurts here.

Doctor: What about if I touch here? Does it hurt there? 
Patient: Ouch! Yesa, it hurts there. What do you think it is doctor?

Doctor: I'm not sure. I think we should take some x-rays to find out if you've broken anything. 
Patient: Will that be expensive?

Doctor: I don't think so. You're insurance should cover routine x-rays.

Key Vocabulary

back
broken
chest
eating habits
heavy foods
insurance
on a scale of one to ten
pain
shoulder
stomach
to avoid
to come and go
to cover something
to get to the bottom of something
to hurt
to keep coming back
to last (an amount of time)
x-rays

Check your understanding with this multiple choice comprehension quiz.

More English for Medical Purposes Dialogues

Troubling Symptoms - Doctor and Patient
Joint Pain - Doctor and Patient
A Physical Examination - Doctor and Patient
A Prescription - Doctor and Patient
Feeling Queasy - Nurse and Patient
Helping a Patient - Nurse and Patient
Patient Details - Administration Staff and Patient

More Dialogue Practice - Includes level and target structures / language functions for each dialogue.