It's hard to talk about pain. It’s also hard to describe pain to make other people understand what it's like. One of the most important things you can do during your treatment at the Wound Center is tell us about your pain. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. To help manage your pain we need to know when the pain occurs, what it feels like, and what makes it get worse or better. It is important to understand that your doctor and nurses may not be able to tell that you are having pain.
Pain can range from very mild to very intense. It can be described as burning, throbbing, nagging, stabbing, shooting, sharp, crushing, gnawing and cramping, just to mention a few. Only you know when you are in pain, how bad it is, and what it feels like.
As a patient at the Wound Center, we encourage you to work with your doctor and nurse to develop a pain management plan especially for you. To begin the plan of care, you will be asked to set a comfort (pain relief) goal. This is a level of pain which you feel you can live and function with. Doctors and nurses taking care of you will frequently ask you to be very specific when describing your pain levels. From your first visit to the last, you will be asked to describe or rate your pain using a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (horrible pain). This scale allows the doctors and nurse to understand how much pain you are having. Zero (0) pain on the scale means you have no pain at all. A rating of 10 would be unbearable pain, the worst you could imagine. A sample of the pain scale is included at the bottom.
Another key step in successful pain control is to take pain medicine when your pain first begins. Take action early – it is harder to ease pain once it has taken hold.
Some patients feel that it is a sign of strength to keep pain a secret, and to refuse to take pain medicines. They are afraid it will show weakness, or they don’t want to be a bother to anyone. Actually the opposite it true. Good pain control can be a key strength. It will make you feel more comfortable while you heal, and may even help you to heal faster.
Both drug and non drug treatments can be successful in helping to prevent and control pain. Drug treatment usually involves taking a pill, however there are other types of medicines available that may be used. Non drug treatments may include rest and repositioning, massage, relaxation, music, or other past times to distract you, positive thinking or nerve stimulation (TENS).
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to discuss them openly with your health care team because you are the most important part of this team!