As a patient at St. Mary’s Health Care System you can expect:
- Your reports of pain will be believed
- Staff who are responsive to your reports of pain
- Information about pain and pain relief measures
- A concerned and knowledgeable staff committed to appropriate
As a patient at St. Mary’s Health Care System, we expect
that you will:
- Ask your doctor or nurse what to expect regarding pain and
- Review the following information on pain management and actively
participate in efforts to effectively manage your pain
Commonly Asked Questions
Why is pain management important?
Unrelieved pain can be harmful, especially when you are sick or
after surgery. Pain can make it difficult to take a deep breath and
interferes with your ability to move and walk. This can result in
complications and a longer stay in the hospital.
How will I tell others how much pain
Your nurses and doctors will ask you to rate your pain on a scale
of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you
Using the Pain Scale, you will be asked to set a comfort goal. If
you are unable to maintain this level of comfort, especially during
activities such as deep breathing and walking, let your nurse or
Will I get “hooked” on pain medicine?
Receiving pain medicine for acute pain does not cause addiction.
A true addiction occurs rarely and is not a concern in treatment
of acute pain.
What about side effects from pain medicine?
It is important to tell your doctor or nurse of any unusual signs
or symptoms. Most common side effects include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Itching or rash
- Difficulty urinating
- Excessive drowsiness
These side effects can be managed but you must let someone know.
You will be monitored for other, less common side effects, including
respiratory depressions, which occur in less than 1 percent of patients.
What can I do to help manage my pain?
- Report pain promptly. Pain is more diffcult to treat when it
- Work with your doctor and nurse to set a comfort goal and to
develop a plan to manage pain.
- Help your doctor and nurse to measure your pain by rating pain
on scale of 0–10 and describing pain as accurately as possible.
- Tell the doctor or nurse about any pain that is not relieved
- Do not worry about getting “hooked” on pain medication.
- Report all other medications you are taking, prescribed and
- Help determine other methods of effective pain relief including
use of heat or cold, massage, positioning, distraction, etc.
Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale
|| No Pain
|| Moderate Pain
|| Worst Possible Pain
Rate Your Pain
On the chart above, indicate how much pain you have.
Your comfort goal is _____________.
From Wong D. L., Hackenberry-Eaton M., Wilson D.,
Winkelstein M. L., Schwartz P.; Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric
Nursing, ed. 6, St. Louis, 2001, p.1301. Copyrighted by Mosby, Inc.
Reprinted by permission.
Treatment for Pain
The following methods of pain control may be used, depending on
the amount and type of pain that you have.
Medications for pain:
- Tablets or liquids: usually take about 45-60 minutes to work.
- Injections or shots: usually take about 30-45 minutes to work.
- IV or injections into a vein: usually take effect within minutes.
- PCA or patient controlled analgesia pump: allows you to give
yourself medication through your IV in controlled amounts when
you experience pain. Takes effect within minutes.
- Epidural or spinal injections: allows excellent pain relief
for certain types of pain including pain with certain surgeries
or while delivering a baby.
Other methods of pain relief may work for mild to moderate pain
and to help pain medicines work better.
- Relaxation: such as abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation
- Hot or cold packs: may relieve certain types of pain—check
with your doctor
- Positioning: may help to relieve pain
- Distraction: music, TV, or movies may help distract you from
- Education: by learning what you need to know about managing
your pain and working with your doctors and nurses to relieve
pain, you can expect to have as comfortable a recovery as possible.