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There are many different kinds of pain, and there are many different causes of pain. Fortunately, because of advances in the options for pain control, most patients can get acceptable pain relief.

You know your pain in a way that no one else can. You are the expert. The team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others involved in your care can help you. But for them to help you, you must tell them about your pain. When we all communicate, we can work together to meet your goal for pain relief.

This information will help you take an active role in your planning. Being prepared helps put you in control of your pain. Having pain is not a sign of weakness. Pain is your body's way of telling you something isn't quite right. Rely on us so we can help you. We are concerned about your pain. By telling us about your pain, we can become partners in managing your pain.

Ask your doctor or nurse what to expect.

  • Will there be pain after surgery or treatment?
  • If there will be pain, how much?
  • Where will the pain be located?
  • How long will the pain last?
  • How will my pain be controlled after surgery or treatment?

For any illness or condition, discuss pain control options with your doctor.

  • Describe any existing pain.
  • Tell the doctor and nurse what has worked for you in the past.
  • Ask about the side effects that may occur with pain medicines.
  • Ask about non-medicine ways to control your pain.
  • Tell the doctor and nurse about your concerns.

How will my pain be measured?

  • A pain rating scale from 0 to 10 will be used to measure the amount of pain.
  • You will be asked which number or face on the scale best describes your level of pain.
  • 0 means you are not experiencing any pain, while 10 means you are experiencing the worst possible pain.
  • If you are unable to use the pain scale, the doctors and nurses will rely on other signals of pain, such as increased heart rate, frowning, restlessness or sweating.
  • You will be assessed routinely for existing pain and pain relief.

Treating your pain with medication

Your doctor may prescribe pain medication. If the medicine is not controlling your pain, notify the nurse or doctor. There may be another kind of medicine you can take. Request the pain medicine as soon as you start to have pain and report unrelieved pain after being medicated. The longer you wait and the worse the pain gets, the harder it is to control.

Other ways to help control pain

  • Changing your position every 1 to 2 hours
  • Positioning your pillows for comfort
  • Sleeping
  • Listening to music
  • Watching TV
  • Walking
  • Talking with friends and family
  • Reading
  • Breathing exercises
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Aromatherapy
  • Massage