Understanding Nursing Procedure # 6: Pain Control

Control of your patient's pain is one of the most important nursing services you can provide. Sometimes a simple acknowledgment of pain can calm your patient and open the doors to more effective pain control. Your knowledge of pain control methods can be the support a patient needs to deal with a difficult situation.

Pain Control Basics

There are two kinds of pain, and each should be handled differently:

  • Acute Pain. This pain is usually of short duration and is often the result of an injury. Pain control entails blocking the sensation of pain until the body is healed enough to stop the medication.
  • Chronic Pain. This may be constant or intermittent, and requires a long-term approach to pain control. Working with the patient to find a good balance of medication is important.

Ask Questions

How do you know where to begin? Using the "Locate" trick can help. When trying to determine the necessary pain control, ask the following questions:

  • L. Where is the location of the pain?
  • O. What other symptoms do you have? Nausea, dizziness, etc.?
  • C. What is the pain's character--is it sharp, burning, throbbing?
  • A. What aggravates your pain? What makes it worse?
  • T. Talk about the timing. How long does it last? Is it constant? Does it come and go?
  • E. What's the environment? Does it hurt all the time? Only when doing specific things?

The options for pain control are wide and varied, and taking the time to understand them all is good nursing procedure. Fortunately, the days of doctors telling patients "you just have to live with it" are over.

Tips and Tricks for Better Pain Control

Pain control is more than a pill or injection. Several minor actions can make a big difference. A simple offering, such as a heating pad or an extra pillow, can go a long way toward comfort. If the patient knows you care and believes you are working toward a pain control solution, they might be better able to tolerate what they are dealing with at the moment. Most importantly, always keep the lines of communication open.

Learn More About Nursing Procedure for Pain Control

Still nervous about providing the proper pain control for your patients? The American Society of Pain Management Nurses can offer information that perhaps you didn't learn in nursing school.  Don't hesitate to talk to other nurses about your concerns, and if you feel the need to brush up even further on pain control techniques, consider taking relevant courses through an online nursing degree program.



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