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Patient Safety at CMH

Managing Pain

  • Pain can change over time or your pain medicine in certain situations may not work. As a result, nurses and doctors should regularly ask about your pain.
  • Generally nurses and doctors ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst. If you cannot sleep because of pain or perform everyday activities (dressing yourself, climbing stairs, etc), let your caregivers know. Pain is often described in a variety of ways including:
    • Aching
    • Bloating
    • Burning
    • Cramping
    • Comes and goes
    • Constant
    • Cutting
    • Dull
    • Numbing
    • Pressing
    • Pressure
    • Pulling
    • Radiating
    • Searing
    • Sharp
    • Shooting
    • Soreness
    • Stabbing
    • Throbbing
  • Pain can be relieved with a variety of drugs including acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and opioids (morphine, oxycodone, and hydromorphone). In addition, acupuncture, electrical nerve stimulation, physical therapy, massage, heat, or cold can relieve pain.
  • Pain medications can have side effects including constipation, nausea, vomiting, itching, and sleepiness. If you have a bad experience, call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible.
  • If you are concerned about becoming addicted to pain medication, talk to your nurse or doctor. Studies have shown that addiction is unlikely.
  • After a while your body may develop a tolerance to some pain medications. If you find your pain medication to no longer be effective, talk to your doctor or nurse. You may need a higher dosage or a different kind.

Source: The Joint Commission