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University Hospital

A Patient's Brief Guide to Pain Control

Basic Facts

  • Treating pain is an important part of good patient care.
  • Medications and other treatments can almost always relieve pain.
  • Pain relief not only removes hurt, it also helps you function better and get better faster.
  • Pain can cause lots of other problems:
    • Tiredness
    • Depression
    • Anger
    • Worry
    • Loneliness
    • Stress
  • Pain can interfere with lots of good things:
    • Sleep
    • Eating
    • Enjoying family and friends
    • Self-Care
    • Interest in work or other routines

Ask Your Physician and Nurse

What medications can you give me to relieve the pain?
When should I take the medications? For how long? How?
What side effects are common?
What should be done if they occur?

I'm Afraid Of Becoming Addicted
When pain medications are used in the right way, patients rarely become addicted. To be sure, have your physician, nurse or pharmacist explain how to use pain medications safely. Many patients only need pain medications until the cause of their pain goes away. When they are ready to stop taking the medication, the physician lowers the amount of medication they take. By the time they stop using it completely, the body has had time to adjust.

Some patients will need to take pain medicines over long period of time. Taking medications regularly should not make you feel like an "addict." You are following your physician's recommendation and getting the treatment you need.

I Don't Want To Be A "Complainer"
You have the right to ask for pain relief. In fact, telling your physician or nurse about pain is what all patients SHOULD do. The sooner you speak up, the better. It is easier to control pain in its early stages, before it becomes severe.

I Do Not Want To Lose Control
Most people do not lose control when they take pain medications in the right way. You may feel sleepy when you first take some pain medications - this feeling usually goes away after a few days.

A few people get dizzy or feel confused when they take pain medications. Tell your physician or nurse if this happens to you. Changing your dose or type of medication usually solves the problem.

I Want To Save The Strong Pain Relievers For Later
Pain medications do not lose their effectiveness over time. NOBODY should be in pain for this reason.

Your Rights

  • Patients have the right to appropriate assessment and management of pain.

Your Responsibilities

  • Patients should know some basic things about pain and pain control.
  • Patients should talk with their physicians and nurses about pain.
  • Patients should not let fears and myths keep them in pain.

What You Can Do(For yourself or your child)

  • Tell your physician and nurses all the places it hurts.
  • How much it hurts.
  • What helps ease the pain.
  • What medications you are taking for pain.
  • How much relief you get from the medication you have been taking.