We care about you and your pain relief.
- Asking about your pain;
- Responding to your reports of pain;
- Developing a pain control plan with you; and
- Teaching you about medicines and your pain control plan.
Pain relief is your right. You are the person who can best
describe your pain. We will:
- Believe your report of pain.
- Respond promptly.
- Address your concerns even though complete relief may not
always be possible.
We will ask you to rate your pain.
At Lourdes, we use a 0 - 10 scale (0 = no pain; 10 = the worst
If you do not understand this scale, please tell us so that we
may meet your needs by using another rating system.
If you need us to read it to you or provide it to you in another
language, please tell us so that you can take part in your
Taking Care of Pain is Important
Taking care of pain can help you feel stronger and cope
Pain can cause you to be:
Pain can affect your:
- Daily activities
- Interest in work & hobbies
- Home life
If You Are In Pain
Medicine and other treatments can often relieve pain. Treating
pain is an important part of good health care. Talk to your health
- To get relief as soon as pain begins.
- To develop a plan to manage pain.
- About worries you have about taking pain medicines.
We need you to partner with us to manage your pain well.
- Follow your health care team's advice.
- Help your health care team assess your pain.
- Learn how to take your medicines safely.
Be sure all the pain medicines you use, including over the
counter ones, are on your medicine list.
- All the places where you are feeling pain.
- How strong the pain feels.
- What the pain feels like:
- comes & goes
- What makes the pain better?
- What makes the pain worse?
- What pain medicine you now take?
- How well your current pain medicines work.
- If your pain is not relieved.
- What can I expect about my pain and its control?
- What pain relief options do I have?
- What medicine(s) can you give me to relieve my pain?
- How and when should I take the medicine(s) and for how
- What side effects are common? What should be done if they
- Should I try non-drug methods to relieve my
Types of Pain
New pain that is short-lived. You know the cause. Think about
what has gone on in your life:
- A new exercise program?
- An injury?
Chronic or Persistent Pain is ongoing and:
- Lasts beyond the illness or injury - for at least 6 months
- Affects your well-being.
- More chronic pain information is available through the American
Chronic Pain Association. The website is http://www.theacpa.org
Breakthrough or Flare-Up Pain
Pain that occurs even though you take routine pain medicine.
There are many ways to treat pain:
Medicines are the most common way to treat pain.
- Always have a medicine list. Know the generic and trade names
for your medicines. This reduces the risk of taking too much of the
- Each person may respond in a different manner to any medicine.
For some people, medicines may cause side-effects.
- Always take medicines as prescribed to reduce the risk for side
- Ask if the pain medicine:
- Puts you at risk to fall.
- Can impair your thinking.
- Will impair your driving or ability to work.
- Causes constipation or nausea.
- Tell your health care team if you are drowsy or have other side
Types of Medicine for Pain
There are four major types of medicine:
Follow the directions on the label! Too much of these can hurt
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
- NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin®; Advil®), naproxen
We want youtobe safe.Talk toyourhealth care teamaboutside
- Your risk for problems from opioids is greater if you have risk
factors. Tell your health care team if you have:
- Sleep apnea or a sleep disorder
- Lung, cardiac, or kidney problems
- Obesity: your BMI is greater than 30
- Age over 60 years
These factors also put you at risk:
- You are taking other medicines that sedate you
- You do not use opioids often
- You have just had surgery that:
- Involves your chest or abdomen
- Lasted many hours
- Store opioids in a secure place. You will reduce the risk of
harming others by mistake
- Opioids may include:
- Morphine such as MS Contin®, Roxanol®
- Hydrocodone such as Vicodin®, Norco®
- Oxycodone such as Percocet®, Oxycontin®, Roxicet®
- Fentanyl such as Duragesic® patches
Medicines used to treat other conditions have been found to help
chronic pain. These may include:
- Antidepressants such as Celexa®, Paxil®, Lexapro®, Effexor®,
- Anticonvulsants such as Depakote®, Tegretol®, Neurontin®,
- Muscle relaxants such as Flexeril®, Soma®, Zanaflex®
Medicines That Do Not Treat Pain
These medicines may be prescribed as part of a pain treatment
plan. These may include:
- Sleep aids such as Ambien®, Tylenol PM®
- Anxiety medications such as Xanax®, Ativan®
- Complementary treatments are used with
- Alternative treatments are used in place of
- Herbals and supplements are known as this type of treatment.
Talk to your health care team if you use them.
- The NationalCenterfor Complementary and Alternative Medicine
website is http://nccam.nih.gov
Used when first-line treatments do not control pain well.
- Injections into a joint or trigger point:
- Lubricating substances
- Spinal cord stimulation: A neuro-stimulator is implanted
under the skin and generates mild electrical signals
- Intrathecal drug delivery systems: These devices deliver
pain medication directly into the spinal cord and nerve roots.
- Nerve and facet blocks: These destroy the nerve that
supplies the affected area
- Heating pads
- Hyperbaric oxygen
- Ice packs
- Magnet therapy
- Smoking Cessation
- Tai Chi
- TENS units
- Guided Imagery
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Relaxation Breathing
Effects of Cigarette Smoke on
Smoking causes blood vessels to become narrow. Narrow blood
vessels result in:
- Less oxygen-rich blood flowing to areas of pain.
- Slower bone and wound healing.
Smoking triggers the release of substances that cause
inflammation and make pain worse. Smoking also makes your bones
weak. It puts you at risk for:
- Spinal degenerative disease
Alcohol and Pain Medicine Do Not Mix
Talk to your health care team about using beer, wine, and liquor
while on pain medications.
- Alcohol can add to the sedating effects of certain prescription
- Alcohol can increase toxic side effects of acetaminophen
Most illegal drugs increase your risk for harmful side effects
when used with other medications. For your safety, tell your health
care team if you use illegal drugs.
Myths and Facts
Don't let worries like these keep you in
I don't want to seem like a
Fact: Telling your health care team about
pain is what all patients should do. It's often easier to control
pain in its early stages, before it becomes severe. The sooner you
speak up, the better.
I don't want to lose control.
Fact: Most people do not get "high" or
lose control when they take pain medicines as prescribed. Tell your
health care team if you feel dizzy, sleepy, or confused. Your dose
or medication can be changed to help solve the problem.
I'm afraid of becoming addicted.
Fact: Most people do not become
Talk to your health care team about how to use pain medicines
Pain Management Resources
Support - Pain Management Patient Guide from the Medical Orders
for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST).
College of Rheumatology - The American College of Rheumatology
(ACR) is an organization of and for physicians, health
professionals, and scientists that advances rheumatology through
programs of education, research, advocacy and practice support that
foster excellence in the care of people with arthritis and
rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. The ACR provides various
educational information for patients.
Effective Health Care - The
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was established
in 1989 as the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.
Reauthorizing legislation passed in November 1999 establishes AHRQ
as the lead Federal agency on quality research. AHRQ, part of the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead agency
charged with supporting research designed to improve the quality of
health care, reduce its cost, and broaden access to essential
services. AHRQ's broad programs of research bring practical,
science-based information to medical practitioners and to consumers
and other health care purchasers.
Cancer Institute - Pain Control Booklet - This booklet will
show you how to work with your doctors, nurses, and others to find
the best way to control pain associated with cancer. It will
discuss causes of pain, medicines, how to talk to your doctor, and
other topics that may help you.
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) - Diabetic
Neuropathies: The Nerve Damage of Diabetes - NDIC was
established in 1978 to increase knowledge and understanding about
diabetes among patients, health care professionals, and the general
public. To carry out this mission, NDIC works closely with the
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases'
(NIDDK's) Diabetes Research and Training Centers; the National
Diabetes Education Program (NDEP); professional, patient, and
voluntary associations; Government agencies; and State health
departments to identify and respond to informational needs about
diabetes and its management.
Association - The National Fibromyalgia Association is a
nonprofit organization whose mission is: To develop and execute
programs dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with
Mayo Clinic - Mayo Clinic's three main Web
sites provide information and services from the world's first and
largest integrated, not-for-profit group medical practice. Manage
your health with information and tools that reflect the expertise
of Mayo's 3,400 physicians and scientists, learn how to access
medical services, and discover Mayo's medical research and