Your comfort is important to us. The information below will help you and your family to understand how we work with you to manage your pain.
When to Tell Your Nurse About Your Pain
Due to both your injury and the activity levels required during rehabilitation, you will probably experience some pain during your stay at Mary Free Bed. Our team understands the importance of controlling pain as much as possible. We don’t want your pain to prevent you from participating in therapy.
Please tell your Mary Free Bed nurse or therapist as soon as you experience any level of pain. Pain is actually easier to control when it’s mild. There is no benefit to “toughing it out” or trying to avoid taking pain medication. You should take your pain medicine when you start to notice pain. Waiting too long can make it much harder to control your pain. Your physician, nurses and therapists will work with you to reduce your pain. However, it is not realistic to expect your pain will be eliminated. Together, we will determine the best pain treatment plan to control your pain as much as possible.
Note: Certain types of pain may indicate an emergency situation. If your pain increases significantly over a short period of time, or if you develop chest pain, please let your nurse, therapist or physician know immediately.
Helping Us Understand Your Pain
We need your help so we can better understand the pain you’re experiencing. We’ll ask you 3 different things about your pain:
Pain score: We use a pain score of 0 through 10. A score of 0 tells us that you’re having no pain. A score of 10 is the worst pain you can imagine. We have two different charts to help you report your pain score. We’ll ask you to give us a pain score many times each day. We can do a better job of controlling your pain if you are able to give us an accurate assessment of how you’re feeling.
Location of pain: It’s not uncommon to have pain in different areas of your body. Please tell us where your pain is located: This will help us decide how we can most effectively treat your pain.
Type of pain: We’ll ask you to describe the type of pain you’re having. Some good words to describe pain include:
An Overview of Pain Medication
At Mary Free Bed, we give pain medication in pill, liquid or injection forms – we don’t use pain pumps or IV pain medications. In some situations, a medication patch may be used to provide pain relief. We’ll work with you to find out which type of medication works best for you. Please don’t take any medications that you bring from home without talking to your physician and your nurses.
Ordering Pain Medication
Your doctor may either order a medication that can be given routinely or on an as-needed basis. When the medication is ordered as needed (the doctor will write this as “prn”), we won’t give it to you unless it’s needed. Please ask you nurse or doctor if you prefer to be given pain medications on a routine schedule.
Frequency of Pain Medication
How often you take your medication is determined by your doctor and by the type of medication you’re taking. Some medications may be taken every 3-4 hours, while others are taken every 12 hours or once a day.
Please talk with your doctor and nurse to learn about the pain medication(s) that has been ordered for you. At times, more than one medication is ordered, and these can be staggered to provide you with the best pain control.
Timing of Pain Medication
Pain medications will often be given so that they’re working best when you’re most active. For example, your nurse and therapist will work together to schedule pain medications so that they’re given 30-60 minutes before a therapy session. This provides the best pain control while you’re in therapy.
Addiction Isn't Likely
Your physician will order pain medications that he or she feels are safe for you. Research has shown that these medications, taken as prescribed by your physician, are usually not addicting. Instead, they’re an important part of the recovery process.
Possible Side Effects
Keep your nurse up-to-date on any side effects you’re experiencing. Common side effects can include:
Pain medicine can sometimes upset your stomach. If this occurs, your doctor may change your medication or prescribe another medication to relieve nausea.
Pain medicine can make you drowsy at first. Often this will decrease after the first few doses. Check with your doctor if your drowsiness lasts longer than a couple of days.
Confusion or Hallucinations
Confusion can mean the amount or type of medicine you are getting needs to be changed. Let your nurse or doctor know if you have problems with confusion.
Constipation is a common side effect of some pain medicines. Check with your doctor or nurse about using a laxative or stool softener to prevent constipation.
Alternatives to Pain Medication
In addition to pain medication, your treatment team will likely try other approaches to control pain.
• Ice packs
• Adjusting your position while lying or sitting
• Warm or cold compresses
• Listening to music
• Distraction – reading, watching TV
• Limiting the noise or activity in your room
Tracking Your Pain Medications
For your own reference, you or your nurse may make note of the pain medications that your physician has ordered for you. This will help you remember the pain medications that are available for you.