No one wants to be in pain. Fortunately, there are many pain control options available for treating pain. When your body is injured, tiny nerve cells send a message to your brain that says, “I’m in pain here!”
Treatments work by blocking the pain message being sent from your nerve cells to your brain. These may include taking pills or liquids throughout the day, getting pain medicine through an IV tube in your vein or a small tube in your back, or using a patient-controlled analgesia pump, which allows you to give yourself pain medicine when you need it. You, as the patient, should be the only person pushing the button on the pump because you know your pain best. The pump won’t allow you to give yourself too much medicine.
“When I came out of surgery, I could regulate my own morphine. It let you do that when you had pain, just press the button and it takes the pain away.”
“We know that the patient has the best knowledge of their own pain and with the proper use of that button and that pump, that they can control their pain.”
Some medications may cause side effects, so don’t be afraid to tell your nurse or doctor if you are experiencing any feelings that just don’t feel right. Side effects may include: nausea, itching, dizziness and constipation. Some medications may react if taken with other over-the-counter medicines and make you feel worse. But side effects can be treated, so talk to your healthcare team to get your pain medications adjusted.
If you have any fears about taking your pain medication or treatment, it is important to talk to your care provider.
“In the past, both patients, physicians and nurses had many fears about using the opioid - or what we generally call narcotics - for pain management. These fears we’d really like to try to put to rest. Medicines like morphine and other opioid medicines can greatly help patients, so the risk of addiction is very low.”
There are also many non-medical pain control methods your healthcare provider may recommend you try, like: massage, heat and cold packs, relaxation, listening to music, watching television, reading, prayer and positive thinking. Many times a combination of non-drug and drug therapy works best to decrease pain.
Medicines may also be given on an as needed basis. Do not wait until the pain gets severe to ask.
“We know that pain tends to be easier to treat if we address it earlier on. The sooner we get at it, the more likely we are to be successful at managing it.”
“The bottom line is that we want to work with the patients and their family to make sure we make them as comfortable as possible.”
Whatever pain management option you choose, talk to your healthcare provider about how it is working. Be honest about how you feel. Working to control your pain can help you heal faster.