Pain Management Education Sheet

Our goal is to help you manage your pain, whether it is short lived, acute pain or persistent chronic pain.  Since pain can affect a person physically, emotionally, psychologically and even financially, it is important that you have a clear understanding of what pain is, the reason it is occurring and what you can do to help control pain.

What is pain? 

Most pain is caused by damage to nerves or tissue.  This can be due to surgery, injury, joint and muscle problems, effects of a tumor, and infection or invasive procedures.  Whatever the cause, proper pain management can improve a person’s quality of life.  Pain creates anxiety, which makes the muscles tense up which can increase the pain.  This may then drain a person’s strength and increase the anxiety, make the pain more intense, and the cycle continues.  Because treatment can break this cycle, it is important that it be treated as soon as possible.

You role in pain management 

Good communications is very important in pain management.  Never assume health-care providers know you are in pain.  If you hurt, say so.  Speak clearly and calmly about what you are feeling and where it hurts.  Don’t keep pain to yourself because you are:

  1. worried you won’t be believed.
  2. afraid of uncovering a serious problem.

You will be asked to help the healthcare team describe your pain.  At Rutherford Regional Medical Center we use a scale of 1 – 10 (1 means little or no pain, 10 means the most severe pain).  You will be asked to tell your healthcare provider what your pain feels like.  For example, your pain may be:  sharp, aching, dull, burning, constant shooting, on-and-off, pounding.

Treatment for pain

There are many treatments that can used to control your pain.  Your physician will choose the most appropriate type of treatment for your pain you are experiencing, your medical condition and the severity of your pain.

Medication is the most common and can include:

  1. Non-prescription pain relievers such as:  Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Tylenol, etc.
  2. Prescription pain relievers such as:  Darvon, Percocet, Tylenol #3.
  3. Narcotics such as Morphine, Codeine, Demerol, etc.

All of these medications have side effects and must be taken as ordered by your physician.

Other types of pain management include:

  1. Application of heat and cold
  2. Guided imagery, visualization, meditation
  3. Relaxation techniques
  4. Exercise Massage
  5. Whirlpool
  6. TENS units
  7. Repositioning

Remember, our goal is to work with you and your physician in providing the best pain management possible.  The key to the best pain management is communication and timely treatment.  You play a vital role in helping us control your pain.