Managing Pain is Important
Managing your pain is an important part of your care. The goal of pain management is to help you to:
- Move around, walk, get of bed
- Take deep breaths
- Sleep well
- Eat well
- Work, go to school or take care of your home and/or family
- Do what you want to do
We know that pain may prevent you from socializing, working, or enjoying a family life. It is associated with depressed mood and poor quality of life. Pain is the most common reason for seeking health care in the United States. This brochure will help you to understand how you can partner with Dr. Mills to manage your pain.
The two main types of pain are:
- Acute (temporary) pain- this may be from an injury, surgery, infection, inflammation or other illness. Pain that is acute may last for seconds or weeks.
- Chronic pain- may last greater than 3-6 months and goes beyond healing of an injury. There may be an ongoing cause of the pain, such as arthritis, nerve damage or cancer.
In some cases, there is no clear cause and no definitive cure- but treatments that can help you manage chronic pain.
Treatment Options for Pain
Whether your pain is acute or chronic, there are many options available to help. Methods that are known to help alleviate pain include: medications, physical therapy, breathing exercises, relaxation, heat or cold, rest, gentle massage and distraction.
Rating Your Pain
You will be asked by Dr. Mills to rate your pain with “0” being no pain and “10” being the worst pain you can imagine. See the scales below:
Some people find it easier to use the “faces” scale instead of the number line. The scale helps you to define your pain as an objective “score” instead of a subjective “feeling”. A numerical rating can help determine if your pain is improving over time, for example, it had been an “8” but after your physical therapy treatment it has come down to a “4”. The goal is to keep the pain at a level that you determine helps you function in your daily life.
Putting Your Pain into Words
Remember, pain is a unique experience and only you can accurately explain your pain. Words to describe pain include:
- Hot or burning
- Pins and needles
It is very important to be as honest and descriptive as possible when speaking with Dr. Mills about your pain. In addition to finding the words that best describe your pain, try to communicate the following about your pain or pains:
- When did the pain(s) begin?
- Where does it hurt?
- What does the pain feel like?
- Rate the pain on a scale of 0-10
- Does the pain come and go, or is it continuous?
- What makes the pain feel better? What makes it feel worse?
- How is your sleep?
- How is your appetite?
- Have you taken any medications, seen any specialists, or done anything else to alleviate the pain?
- How has this pain affected your life?
Medications for Pain
There is a range of medications that can be used to manage pain. Dr. Mills will discuss which type of medicine is best for your pain. Medicines for relief of pain range from mild pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil to stronger narcotic controlled substances like Morphine. Important points include:
- Take medications as soon as pain begins. It is harder to ease pain once it has taken hold.
- Strong pain medicines may make you sleepy, dizzy, tired, cause nausea, vomiting, or constipation or cause reactions such as itching. It is important you report any of these or other unexpected reactions so that adjustments to medicines can be made to manage these unwanted effects.
- We understand that you are seeking to relieve pain. This does not make you a drug addict. Do not be afraid to take pain medication, but be sure to take it exactly as prescribed.
- If narcotic
medicine is needed, Dr.Mills may ask you to sign a “Pain Agreement”. The pain agreement states that you
must use only one pharmacy for your medicine, bring all medicine bottles to
each appointment, take the medications exactly as prescribed. Dr. Mills may ask you to provide a urine sample at each visit.
It will be sent to a laboratory at Dr. Mills discretion.
Unused medications that remain in your medicine cabinet are susceptible to theft and misuse. To prevent medications from getting into the wrong hands, New Jersey's Office of the Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs urge you to properly dispose of your expired and unwanted prescription medicine at a nearby Project Medicine Drop location. DROP OFF IS SIMPLE, ANONYMOUS AND AVAILABLE 24 HOURS A DAY – 365 DAYS A YEAR, NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Simply bring in your prescription and over-the-counter medications and discard them in an environmentally safe manner. Always scratch out the identifying information on any medicine container you are discarding. In Monmouth County, the following drop off sites available:
Colts Neck Township PD, Howel PD, Malboro PD, Township of Ocean PD. For a complete list of Project Medicine Drop locations, please visit www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/meddrop.
National Institute of Health and Human Services http://www.nichd.nih.gov/ http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic_pain/detail_chronic_pain.htm#267183084
American Pain Society http://www.americanpainsociety.org
Continuum Health Partners www.healingchronicpain.org