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How-to Manage Pain Effectively

By Edited Oct 27, 2013 0 1

The experience of pain is becoming an ever-present pheneomena, that many healthcare professionls are becoming more and more cognizant of. While there may always be a temptation to inappropriately prioritize the management of a patient's pain, under the increasing demands of scheduling and difficult nurse-to-patient ratios in the healthcare workplace setting, it has become commonplace for a healthcare professional's indoctrination into this line of work to be accompanied by the recognition that pain is whatever the patient says it is.

Whether you are a person who is attempting to alleviate, or manage, your pain on your own, or you are a healthcare professional who is genuinly interested in promoting the overall comfort and quality of life of your patients, evidence-based practice related to pain control and management has really evolved in the past several years.

As a registered nurse, in this article, I will share common (and maybe not-so-common) methods or techniques that I have personally applied to help manage my patient's pain.

Firstly, one should recognize that textbook upon textbook has been thoughtfully written about the phenomena of a human's pain experience. Coupling these well-written textbooks, are a plethora of specialty medical journal research articles, that are founded on solid, empirical evidence that has been documented, and observed frequently in the clinical setting.

One must understand that the pain experience is truly fascinating, and may require a multi-fascited approach to appropriately manage effectively. Of course, you may be someone who simply wants answers. I completely understand, empathize with you, and encourage you to read the remainder of this article. The resources I supply should assist you in managing your own pain, or, at least, direct you to other resources that can.

Secondly, whether you are a doctor, a nurse, a nurse's aid, or a familial caregiver at home, you must realize that caregiver burnout is an ever-present reality, and, because of this, a specific NANDA approved nursing diagnosis has been assigned to it (ie: "Caregiver Role Strain"). No matter the specific 'type of pain' that a patient, or loved one, is feeling, you, as their primary caregiver, must be ever cognizant of your own strengths and limitations.

Oftentimes, the passion that serves as a foundation of your caring may cause you to do more than you can physically, or emotionally, handle. You, as a caregiver, are absolutely essential in the care of your loved one, but, who will take care of you when you become worn-out and broken by your desire to constantly meet every need of your loved one? To often, articles that have been written about pain management simply fail to acknowledge this crucial step.

Without You being able to function at your best, it is difficult to provide the best possible care, and pain management, to your loved one.

Thirdly, as initially stated in the introduction of this article, accompanying a Nursing student's rigorous academic requirements has come an increased emphasis on the phenomena of pain management. This means that a patient's pain experience is essentially a purely subjective phenomena, or, rather, it is exactly what the patient says it is.

Whether at home, or in a healthcare setting, any caregiver should be especially cognizant of a patient's pain experience. Dependent on a patient's condition, they may, unfortunately, be unable to adequately verbalize or detail every critical aspect of their pain. Where this information is lacking, or is unable to be obtained, a doctor, nurse, or general caregiver must be especially attuned to the signs and symptoms that accompany the many actual forms of pain.

Fourthly, a caregiver, and patient, must realize that pain can take many forms. Without expounding significantly beyond the confines of this article, it is important to know that pain can be treated, and managed, differently dependent upon the type of pain you are experiencing. Pain can range from more acute pain, to chronic non-malignant pain, to cancer, neuropathic, visceral, and somatic pain (Musculoskeletal or Arthritis Pain).

Along with each of these specific types of pain, are particular risk factors that are associated with them. For example, your age, and gender, especially females, are more inclined to make you at greater risk for chronic pain.

Fifthly, you, and/or your caregiver, should have a general idea of what specific measures you have taken to control, and manage, your own pain, in the past. Have these methods/techniques been effective for you(?) Have they resulted in less pain when they are applied(?) Whether these methods include simple distraction, a back rub, or the application of a variety of neat products and gadgetry that are typically available at many online stores, one should always ensure to convey their perceived effectiveness of these products/methods to their primary caregivers.

Without knowing how well the interventions you have personally applied to manage your own pain has worked, it will be difficult to gain an appropriate baseline of data regarding a variety of other means that you could be tried, whether alone, or in combination, with one another. Oftentimes, the most effective approach to pain management is one that attacks the problem from a variety of angles, to include a chiropractor, massage therapist, nutritionist, and/or dietician.

Finding Joy in Healing: my journal, my journey (Volume 1)
Amazon Price: $17.95 $13.83 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 21, 2013)
This book was written by my neighbor, Janet. While you can certainly find scientific information, regarding the management of pain, within a standard book (like a Nursing textbook), few books manage to capture the intimate and highly personal nature of the chronic pain experience in the same way that Janet's book does. Having graduated from nursing school in 2009, it is my honest opinion that this book should be mandatory reading for any college nursing program/curriculum. I would highly recommend this book.


Jul 13, 2010 4:34pm
Good article, Howie. Glad I don't have any sort of chronic pain.
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