There are common misconceptions about the need for strong pain medications during serious illness. During National Pain Awareness Month in September, Hope is helping educate the public on this important topic. If more people understand the need for robust pain management, fewer people will suffer unnecessarily when relief is close at hand. By reducing the stigma associated with strong pain medications and treatments, you can help to remove the barriers to effective pain management.
Pain may cause discomfort, distress, anxiety, or agony. It may be constant or intermittent. It also may be throbbing, stabbing, aching, or pinching. Only the person feeling the pain can properly describe those feelings. When someone is receiving help from Hope Healthcare, their care team will frequently assess their current pain levels.
Nurses will typically ask a patient to rate the intensity of his or her physical pain using a descriptive scale such as 0 to 10 – with 10 being the worst pain imaginable. It is vital that patients always report any pain to their nurse or other care team members. These compassionate men and women will help by asking follow-up questions. This helps keep people comfortable and pain-free so that they can enjoy the best possible quality of life.
Facts about Pain Medication
The amount of medicine needed to control pain is different for each person and depends on:
- Specific illness and other conditions
- Age, height, and weight
- How much pain they’re experiencing
- The type of pain they’re experiencing
- Other medicines they may be taking
Starting a Pain Management Schedule
Hope will develop a schedule for taking prescribed pain medication. Sleepiness may occur for two or three days after starting a regular schedule. This is normal. After a few days, it may be necessary to adjust the frequency or dosage of the medication. It’s often possible for people to find relief from serious pain without being overly sleepy or groggy.
Tips for Maintaining a Pain Management Schedule
- Don’t wait until pain becomes severe to take medication. Pain is easier to control when it’s mild rather than when it’s severe.
- If the patient is taking a scheduled pain medication, it’s important to take all scheduled doses.
- Take breakthrough pain medication between regularly scheduled times.
- The amount of medicine needed for pain control may change many times.
- Keep track of pain medication supplies.
Additional Pain Management Techniques
Medication is not the only way to relieve pain; other techniques may also help. Families are encouraged to discuss different options with all members of the Hope team.
Focus on something else. Distraction can provide an unusual source of pain relief. Listening to soothing music, drawing, writing, reading, or even daydreaming may help. Relaxation relieves pain or keeps it from getting worse by reducing muscle tension. Some people may be able to relax through prayer, meditation, guided imagery, yoga, massage, or aromatherapy.
If you know someone who needs help with pain resulting from serious illness, please contact Hope at 239-482-4673 for more information as soon as possible. As a local, not-for-profit healthcare organization, Hope is able to care for people of all ages who need comfort and compassion.