Dealing With Pain
Most patients experience some level of pain while in the hospital. Our health care staff will help you manage your pain. Effectively managing your pain is important because it can promote a faster recovery, shorten your stay with us and improve your quality of life.
Only you know the level of pain you are in. Pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, stabbing sensations. Reporting pain is not a sign of weakness. No matter what the form, talk with your doctor or nurse so we can work with you to manage your pain.
To help us relieve your pain, we will ask you questions and refer to a pain scale of 1 to 10. These questions may include the following:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain possible, how would you rate your pain?
- Where do you hurt?
- When did the pain start?
- Is it constant, or does it come and go?
- Is it a dull pain, or is it sharp?
- Does it feel like pressure or a burning sensation?
- What makes it feel better or worse?
- How does it affect you? Can you sleep? Move about?
Some people worry about pain medication, the side effects and possible addiction.
Pain experts tell us that less than 1 percent of patients develop problems after taking pain medication. If you are worried about becoming addicted to your pain medication, talk with your doctor or nurse.
Everyone responds differently to medications, and side effects depend on how your body reacts to a particular medicine. There are often ways to prevent or manage side effects and still get relief from your pain.
There are several types of pain medicine that you and your doctor can discuss and choose from. You may take a pill for your pain if you are able to swallow the pill and take liquids. Your doctor will order this medicine for you, and your nurse will deliver it to your room. Shots for pain relief are most often given in the hip, buttocks or upper arm.
Pain medicine may also be given by your nurse through your IV line, or it could be given through a pump called patient-controlled analgesia, or PCA. The pump will give you pain medicine as ordered by your doctor, and you may also have a button to push to give yourself extra medication when you need it. You can push this button based on the amount of pain you are in.
Another option for pain medicine is an epidural. This requires a doctor to place a needle in your back to put a thin tube in your spine. Medicine is given through this tube to help control pain in specific areas of your body.
In addition to pain medication, there are several other things we can offer to help relieve your pain. These include relaxation techniques, hot or cold therapy and massage. The CARE channel, channel 88 on your television, provides relaxing images and music that can help you manage discomfort and pain.
Learning More About Pain
Learning about pain and how to control it often helps you manage your pain. For example, if you know to expect pain when you cough, sit or stand, you can prepare yourself for the pain or learn ways to manage these situations.
If your pain gets worse, this does not mean your health problem is worse. Tell your health care team about any pain you have.
Most people do not “get high” or lose control when they take pain medicine prescribed by their doctor. Some pain medicines may make you feel sleepy. This usually goes away in a few days. If you get dizzy or feel confused, tell your doctor or nurse. Changing the dose or medication can help solve this problem.
Your body does not become immune to pain medicine. Stronger medicines should not be saved for later. Pain should be treated early. It is important to take pain medicine when you need it. The amount and type of medicine can be changed as your pain goes away.
Tell someone if you cannot afford the pain medicines you need. Your doctor, nurse or social worker may be able to find ways to help get your medicine.