Video: How to talk to your healthcare professionals about chronic back pain

*Actual snippet from Module 1 of Back Pain: Deep Healing digital program.

When it comes to describing your back pain experience to healthcare professionals and other healers, it may get a little frustrating. Sometimes you don’t feel heard or they just don’t have the time to listen to the whole story.

One solution is to use the acronym LOCATES to provide a concise explanation that can hook their attention before you go into further details.

LOCATES is an acronym for the questions that healthcare professionals are trained to ask when it comes to assessing pain. Most professionals are really great at using this acronym for acute pain, but when it comes to chronic pain, some are likely to skip around and go straight to prescribing pain meds.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

What does LOCATES stand for?

L = Location – Where is your pain?

O = Other associated symptoms – Did you notice any nausea, lack of sleep, change in appetite, etc.?

C = Character – How would you describe your pain? Burning, throbbing, pounding, sharp, searing, etc.

A = Aggravating and Alleviating factors – What makes your pain worse and what makes it better?  Exercise, rest, sleep, pain meds, etc.?

T = Time – How long are you feeling the pain for? At what time of day? How often do you feel your pain?

E = Environment – Where are you and what are you doing when the pain shows up?

S = Severity – On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain you can imagine, how bad is your pain?


You can fill all of these out on a slip of paper and take it with you to your appointment with your healer.

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to healing.

Remember that no single professional is going to have all the answers to heal your pain. You can think of each healer you see as someone who understands one aspect of your experience and knows how to heal you through the filter that they’ve been trained in.

So if one healer tells you to do something that you really don’t agree with or don’t feel good about, that’s ok. Find another healer who resonates better with you. 

Check out this short video snippet below about the use of LOCATES from Module 1 in my Back Pain: Deep Healing digital program.


The Back Pain: Deep Healing digital program is designed for individuals who have a feeling that their chronic pain is caused by something deeper than the physical realm and are looking for holistic healing solutions.