Simple Pain Strategies | Cancer Treatment & Survivorship

Simple Pain Strategies

Pain management is still a relatively new field in health care. However, great strides have been made in assisting patients in managing pain. Below are some tips for working with your health care professional which will help you get pain relief:

1. Tell the provider how the pain feels. Is it sharp or dull? Does it burn, throb or ache? Does it feel like pins and needles or is it a stabbing pain?

2. Tell the provider where the pain is located. Point to the exact area where you are having the pain.

3. Tell your provider where the pain began.

4. Tell the provider whether on not you have had the pain before. If so, what helped decrease the pain? Was it a particular kind of medication? Was it rest?

5. Tell you provider how often the pain occurs.

6. Tell your provider about any activities or conditions that cause the pain or make the pain more intense.

Many practitioners will use a rating scale to help you identify the intensity of the pain. The provider may ask if the pain is mild, moderate, severe, or extremely intense.
A sample scale used is 0-10 as shown below:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
No pain to worst possible pain

One way to determine the meaning of these numbers is:
1-3 = mild pain
4-6 = moderate pain

7-9 = severe pain
10 = extremely intense pain

Typically, the provider will ask you about your pain prior to and after a pain intervention is used. This information will assist the provider in determining how effective or ineffective a particular intervention or drug is working. It is important for you to be as clear and honest as possible, so that the provider can find the right approach to alleviate your pain.

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About the Author


Steve shares what he learned from his personal experience with cancer.