The multidisciplinary team at Tri-County Health Care recognizes the importance of proper assessment and management of your pain. We offer comprehensive, compassionate and progressive care tailored to relieve your pain.
What is pain?
Pain is an uncomfortable feeling that tells you something has changed in your body. It is unique for each person, and treatment of pain needs to be specific for each person. Pain is your body’s way of sending a warning to your brain.
Receptor nerve cells in and under your skin sense heat, cold, light, touch, pressure and pain. When there is an injury to your body, these tiny cells send messages along nerves into your spinal cord and then up to your brain. Pain medicines block these messages or reduce their effect on your brain.
How is pain assessed?
Nurses and providers will ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 0-10. Reporting your pain as a number helps your care team know how effective your treatment is and whether to make any changes. Special pain-rating scales will be used to measure pain in children.
Pain medication options
Oral (Pain Pills): These medications are taken by mouth. There are many different types of “pain pills.” Most oral medications take effect in 30 to 60 minutes. Take only those that have been prescribed for you.
Intramuscular (Hypos): This medication is injected into the muscle. It will take effect in 20 to 40 minutes and generally lasts up to three or four hours.
Intravenous (IV): This medication is given directly into the vein through an IV and will begin to work within minutes.
Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA): Pain medications are injected in your IV by a special pump which you can control. If this is ordered, your nurse will provide you with more information.
Epidural: Pain medication is given through a tiny catheter, which is placed into your lower back. This medication is given as a one-time dose or on a continuous basis by a special pump. If this is ordered, your nurse will provide you with more information.
Common questions and concerns
“People become hooked or addicted to pain medication.”
Studies show that getting hooked or addicted to pain medication is very rare when treating physical pain.
“If I complain too much, I’m not being a good patient.”
Controlling pain is an important part of your care. Tell your provider or nurse if you have pain, if your pain is getting worse or if you are taking pain medication and it is not working. They can help you to get relief from your pain.
Do not worry about being a “bother.” Pain can be a sign of a problem. The nurses and providers want and need to know.
“Pain medication should be ‘saved’ in case pain gets worse.”
Acting quickly when pain starts can often prevent it from getting worse. Take pain medicine as soon as the pain begins.
Other things including relaxation, exercise, massage, meditation, application of heat or cold, imagery and other techniques can be used to help you manage pain. These things work better to manage pain when used with pain medication than when they are used alone.
“It is easier to put up with pain than to deal with the side effects that come from pain medicine.”
Most side effects can be managed or your provider can change your pain medication.