Patients & Visitors

Managing Your Pain

Ask your physician or nurses what to expect.

  • Will there be much pain after surgery? Where will it hurt? How long will it last?
  • The amount or type of pain you feel may not be the same as others feel, even if you have had the same procedure or have the same illness.
  • Write down your questions before you talk to your doctor. It will help you remember what you want to say or ask.

Talk about pain control with your doctors and nurses.

  • Tell them what pain control methods have worked for you in the past.
  • Tell them any concern you may have about pain medicine.
  • Tell them about allergies to medicines.
  • Ask about side effects that may occur with medicines and treatments.
  • Talk with your physician and nurses about medication you take for other health problems.

Know your schedule for pain medicine.

  • If you know when you will receive pain medicine, it may help control your pain.
  • Work with your medical team to create a pain control plan.

Take action as soon as the pain starts.

  • Preventing pain is easier than stopping it. If you know something will cause pain (such as walking or moving around), ask to take your medicine before you begin.

Know how to "measure" your pain.

  • Nurses and doctors may ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain. Or, you may choose a word from a list that best describes the pain.
  • Reporting your pain as a number helps the medical team know how well your treatment is working and whether changes may be needed.
  • You and your physician may also set a pain control goal, such as having no pain worse than a 2 on the 0 to 10 scale.

Tell the doctor or nurses about any pain that won't go away.

  • Pain can be a sign of a problem with your operation.
  • The physician and nurses want and need to know about your pain.
  • Stick to your pain control plan if it is working. If you are still having pain, your physician or nurse may want to change your medication, the dosage or when it is given to you.