Goal: To promote pain relief
Relieving Your Pain
Relieving your pain is important. This information sheet is provided as a guideline for helping you to experience good pain relief. If you have any questions about this information or want more information, be sure to ask your nurse or personal physician on the medical staff.
Why is pain relief important?
Pain can cause suffering and may delay recovery. Relieving pain may improve sleep, appetite, mood, energy, and activity level. Tell your physician on the medical staff or nurse when you have pain. Don't worry about being a bother. Do not wait until your pain is severe because it may be harder to relieve. Remember: Report pain to your nurse when it first starts, even if it is mild.
What to ask the doctor:
- Ask what will be done to relieve your pain
- Ask how much and when medicine may be taken
- Ask what are the most common side effects of the medication you are taking
- Ask how to prevent and treat side effects
- Ask about effective nonmedication approaches that can help your pain
Help the doctor and nurse measure your pain by using the faces or numbers on this chart:
What to tell your doctor or nurse:
- Where you hurt
- How strong the pain feels
- What makes the pain feel better or worse
- If your pain relief measures not working, or if pain keeps you from doing your usual activities
Remember: You are not complaining when you inform your doctor or nurse about your pain.
What can be done to relieve my pain?
Many people used to think that they had to "put up with pain." Often, this is no longer true. Today's new treatments enable physicians on the medical staff and nurses to help you control your pain. Pain medications are given to help relieve your pain. These may not get rid of all your pain but they should lower your pain to a level that is acceptable. Other therapies, such as massage, positioning, imagery, application of heat or cold, relaxation training, and listening to music can often reduce pain.
What pain medicines will be used?
There are many types of pain medicines. The type used depends on the kind of pain. Your doctor will decide which medication is right for you. Opioids (also called narcotics) are often used for severe or moderate pain. Nonopioid medicines such as Tylenol, aspirin or Advil may also be used to relieve pain. Other drugs are often helpful-for example muscle relaxants and antidepressants.
Is it better to tough it out as long as I can?
Pain can delay your recovery. Also, if you wait until the pain is severe, it may be harder to control your pain. Take (or ask for) pain relief medicines when the pain first begins.
How long will it take to relieve my pain?
This depends on the medicine used. For example, an injection of medicine in the vein may work within minutes. Other medicines take 30 minutes or more to work. Your nurse may tell you when the medicine is likely to start working.
How long will the medicine work?
Some medicines work for a short time and others work for 12 hours or more. Tell your nurse when your pain starts to come back so your plan for pain relief may be evaluated and adjusted as needed.
Do pain medicines have side effects?
All medicines have side effects. Constipation, upset stomach and drowsiness are common side effects of opioid drugs. If you get these or other side effects, tell your physician on the medical staff or nurse so they may be treated if necessary. However, most side effects do lessen over time. It is ALWAYS important to follow the direction of the physician on the medical staff, nurse or pharmacist when using pain medication. For example, if using patient controlled analgesia (a device that allows you to administer pain medication into your vein by pushing a button on a machine), YOU are the only person who is to push the button. For your safety, family members or friends should not be pushing this button.
If I take opioids (narcotics) will I get addicted to them?
The chance of getting addicted is rare, about 4 in 11,000 patients. Unless you have a previous problem with drug abuse, you should be able to stop your pain medicines when your pain is controlled. If you have concerns, talk with your physician on the medical staff and nurse, but concerns about addictions should not keep you from taking pain medicine.
If I take pain medicine regularly, will it lose its effect?
Your body can slowly develop "tolerance" to some pain medicines. This means you may need to take more medicine to get the same effect. This is a natural, normal response of the body. This is not addiction. If tolerance occurs, the dose may be increased or another medicine may be added.
Remember: Pain relief is important to your recovery. Tell you physician on the medical staff or nurse when you have pain so your pain can be treated.
Visit the Mabee Rehabilitation Center Web page for more information.
For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).