Pain Rating Scale
Slow Rhythmic Breathing for Relaxation*
- Breathe in slowly and deeply.
- As you breathe out slowly, feel yourself beginning to relax;
feel the tension leaving your body.
- Now breathe in and out slowly and regularly at whatever rate is
comfortable for you. You may wish to try abdominal breathing. If
you do not know how to do abdominal breathing ask your nurse for
- To help you focus on your breathing and breathing slowly and
rhythmically: Breathe out as you say silently to yourself, "in,
two, three." Breathe out as you say to yourself silently, "out,
two, three."... or ... Each time you breathe out, say silently to
yourself a word such as "peace" or "relax".
- You may imagine that you are doing this in a place that is very
calming and relaxing for you.
- Repeat above steps as necessary.
- End with a slow deep breath. As you breathe out say to
yourself, "I feel alert and relaxed."
Additional points: If you intend to do this for
more than a few seconds, try to get in a comfortable position in a
quiet place. You may close your eyes or focus on an object. This
breathing exercise may be used for only a few seconds or up to 20
* From: McCaggery, M. And Beebe. A. (1989). Pain: Clinical
manual for nursing practice, St. Louis: C.V. Mosby Company
Advantages and Disadvantages of Pain Treatment Methods
This information is provided to help you discuss your options
with your doctors and nurses. Sometimes it is best to combine two
or more of these treatments or change the treatments slightly to
meet your individual needs. Your doctors and nurses will discuss
this with you.
Methods Used To Give Pain Relief Medicines
Tablet or Liquid
Medicines given by mouth (for example, aspirin, ibuprofen, or
opioid medications such as codeine).
Advantages: Tablets and liquids cause less
discomfort than injections and can work just as well. They are
inexpensive, simple to give, and easy to use at home.
Disadvantages: These medicines cannot be used
if nothing can be taken by mouth or if you are nauseated or
vomiting, sometimes these medicines can be given rectally
(suppository form). There may be a delay in pain relief, since
these medicines take time to be absorbed.
Injections into Skin and Muscles
Advantages: Medicine given by injection into
skin or muscle is effective even if you are nauseated or
Disadvantages: The injection site is
occasionally painful for a short time.
Injections into Vein
Pain relief medicines are injected into a vein through a small
tube, called an intravenous (IV) catheter. The tip of the tube
stays in the vein.
Advantages: Medicines given by injection into a
vein are fully absorbed and act quickly. This method is well suited
for relief of brief episodes of pain. When a patient controlled
analgesia (PCA) pump is used, you can control your doses of pain
Disadvantages: IV site can become
Injections into Spine
Medicine is given through a small tube in your back (called an
epidural or intrathecal catheter).
Advantages: This method works well when you
have abdominal surgery or an operation on the lower parts of your
Disadvantages: Activity may be limited by use
of this method.
Non-Drug Pain Relief Methods
These methods can be effective for mild to moderate pain and to
boost the pain relief effects of drugs. There are no side effects.
These techniques are best learned before surgery.
Learning about the operation and the pain expected afterwards
(for example: when coughing or getting out of bed or a chair).
Advantages: These techniques can reduce
anxiety; they are simple to learn, and no equipment is needed.
Disadvantages: There are no risks; however,
patient attention and cooperation with staff are required.
Simple techniques, such as abdominal breathing and jaw
relaxation, can help to increase your comfort after surgery.
Advantages: Relaxation techniques are easy to
learn, and they can help to reduce anxiety. After instruction, you
can use relaxation at any time. No equipment is needed.
Disadvantages: There are no risks, but you will
need instruction from your nurse or doctor.
For more information about Outpatient
Surgery, please call 607-798-5321.