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Managing Your Pain While at the Hospital

Managing your pain while you are staying at the hospital plays a central part in the healing process. It will help you get better and improve your quality of life even after you are discharged. 

Talking to your doctor or nurse about any pain you are experiencing is an important step toward controlling it. Using this guide will give you a way to talk to your care team about your pain.

Tell Us About Your Pain

  • Where do you hurt and how does it feel? 
  • When did the pain start? 
  • What makes it better or worse? What you have tried already to help your pain?
  • How bad is your pain?
  • How are you doing eating, sleeping, and focusing?
  • Are you feeling nervous or moody?
  • What do you think will help you reach a “comfortable” level of pain?
  • What is your biggest fear with this pain?

Managing pain can improve your quality of life and help you get better. Use this tool to help tell us about your pain.

Options for Pain Control

Pain can be both a blessing (your brain tells to you take your hand off of a hot stove) & a curse (pain hangs on too long and becomes chronic). What is your goal for the pain you are having at the moment or expect to have?

  • Distraction such as relaxing music, meditation, deep breathing, or anything you can think of to help you stay calm.
  • The hospital offers Reiki, massage, & aromatherapy if you find this helpful.
  • Medications can be very helpful and range from Tylenol for mild pain to a strong opioid pain medication for severe pain.
  • Simple options such as ice, heat, or repositioning can also help.

Managing Your Pain Once You Leave the Hospital

  • Follow your discharge instructions and take your medication exactly as ordered by the doctor.
  • If you were given a prescription for a strong pain medication (an opioid), please read and follow safe use guidelines that will be provided to you before you go home.
  • Be sure to take pain medication before activities you know will cause pain, such as walking or physical therapy.
  • Call your doctor if you have side effects from your medication that are keeping you from caring for yourself at home

Nervous About Taking Pain Medicine?

It is common to be nervous about the possibility of getting addicted to your pain medication. Addiction occurs rarely when pain medications are taken for a short period of time. Share your concerns and be honest with your doctor.

  • Keep strong pain medications (opioids) in a safe place in your home and do not share with friends or family
  • When you no longer need your strong medication, please do not “save it for a rainy day”. There are many places in the community to return pain medications to be sure they do not get into the wrong hands. Wentworth-Douglass Hospital has a take back box right in the lobby where you can safely dispose of medications. 
  • Remember that pain is very different for each individual and talking to your doctor is the key to managing and controlling your pain.

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Pain Management

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