Pain Medication

Pain medicine: You may be given 1 or more different types of pain medicine which affect the nervous system so you feel less pain. They work together so that less medicine is needed while getting better pain control than any single type of medicine. Pain medicine may not get rid of pain completely. But, it should keep it at a level that allows you to move around, eat, and breathe easily. Do not wait until your pain is too bad to ask for medicine. The medicine may not work as well at controlling the pain if you wait too long. Tell caregivers if the pain does not go away or comes back.

How can pain medicine be given? Following are the many different ways pain medicine can be given depending on the kind of pain you have and when clinically appropriate.

·         By mouth: You may be given pills or liquid to swallow or you may be given a pill or liquid to put under your tongue. Pain medicine can also be given as a lozenge like a cough drop or even as a special lollipop.

·         Shot: Pain medicine can be given as a shot in an IV, into a muscle, or under the skin (subQ).

·         Topical: Medicine in a cream or gel is spread over your skin.

·         Transdermal: Some medicine can be given as a patch put on the skin. This medicine is released slowly to give pain relief for as long as 72 hours.

·         Rectal: Medicine in a suppository is put into your rectum.

·         Epidural (eh-pih-DER-ull): Medicine is given through a catheter (tube) that caregivers put into epidural space (the areas around the spinal cord).

·         Nerve block: A shot of medicine is put close to the nerves in the area that hurts to break the pain cycle. The medicine makes the nerves unable to send pain messages to your brain. Nerve blocks give short-term relief of pain so that you can use the painful part and have a more normal life. Example C-section

·         PCA: A PCA device to give you pain medicine. PCA stands for patient-controlled analgesia (an-ull-G-z-uh). This is an electric pump with pain medicine which is connected through a tube to an IV (in your vein) or subQ (under your skin). You press a button when you feel pain and you receive medicine from the pump through the tube. Caregivers have set the pump so you cannot get too much medicine. A PCA pump works well to control pain because you can give yourself medicine before the pain gets too bad. Being in control of your pain relief also helps you relax and deal with the pain better.

How can you take pain medicine safely and make it work the best for you?

Pain medications should be taken only when needed.  Pain medications may cause uncomfortable and dangerous side effects.

Some pain medicines can make you breathe less deeply and less often. The medicine may also make you sleepy, dizzy, and unsafe to drive a car or use heavy equipment.

Pain medicine can make you constipated (hard BMs). Straining with a BM can make your pain worse. Do not try to push the BM out if it's too hard. Following are some things that you can do to deal with constipation.

·         Eat more foods high in fiber. Some high-fiber foods are raw fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, dried fruits, popcorn, and nuts.

·         Avoid hard cheeses and refined grains, such as rice and macaroni.

·         Talk to your caregiver about drinking more liquids if you are not on a fluid restriction. Drinking warm or hot liquids can help make your bowels more active. Prune juice may also help make the BM softer.

·         Caregivers may tell you to take fiber medicine to help make your BMs softer and more regular. Also, ask about taking a mild laxative (medicine to soften BMs).

·         Walking is a very good way to get your bowels moving. Try to get up and around and do as much of your own personal care as possible if medically appropriate.