Pain management

Effective treatment of acute pain is a fundamental component of quality patient care and will go a long way towards helping you regain your good health as quickly as possible.

4 reasons pain management is so important:

  1. Effective treatment of post-operative pain improves comfort and minimises the body’s stress response – leading to better wound healing and less risk of infection.
  2. Preventative treatment of post-operative pain may reduce the occurrence of chronic pain.
  3. Pain management allows for improved breathing and earlier mobilisation – thus decreasing the likelihood of a potential deep-vein thrombosis (DVT).
  4. Post-operative pain management might also assist in a quicker discharge and recovery.

How to assess pain levels:

  • Nursing staff will regularly evaluate your pain.
  • You will be asked to rate your pain on a pain scale of 0-10, according to the Universal Pain Assessment Tool.
  • Inform the nurse where you are experiencing pain, along with a description of the pain experience: dull, sharp, aching, throbbing or stabbing.

1-2-3 of pain medication:

  1. Pain medication is prescribed individually for your type of pain, your weight, age and medical condition.
  2. Nursing staff may only administer medication your doctor has prescribed. If the prescribed pain medication isn’t effective for your pain, inform the nurse responsible for your medication. They will contact your doctor for an additional prescription or a change of prescription.
  3. For the first 48 hours after surgery, it is advisable to take your pain medication every four to eight hours, as prescribed. It might not be possible to be completely pain-free, but an acceptable or bearable level of pain is our goal. Please refrain from using personal medication.

Did you know?

It can take 15 to 30 minutes for pain medication to take effect, so it is important to take it timeously, and allow time for it to start working.

10 tips to alleviate pain:

  1. Discuss the pain management regime your doctor prescribed with the nursing staff.
  2. Ask your doctor or nurse what to expect regarding pain and pain management.
  3. Do not try to ‘cope’ with your pain.
  4. Take your pain medication timeously.
  5. After surgery, a combination of initial immobilisation (rest) and early mobilisation (walking) could be helpful. Make sure you are informed regarding your specific nursing plan.
  6. Follow the instructions of the nurses and physiotherapists closely, to minimise possible straining of back and stomach muscles.
  7. Positioning of your body plays an important role in relieving pain. In case of abdominal surgery, support the operation site by holding it firmly when coughing or sneezing.
  8. When pain is caused by trauma, the R.I.C.E principle (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and physiotherapy may be of value.
  9. Visitors and conversations can be tiresome: be honest with your visitors when you need rest.
  10. Make use of relaxation and/or distraction techniques such as listening to music, rhythmic breathing, self-hypnosis, watching TV, reading and meditating.

We want to do all we can to help you manage your pain. Please be open and honest with your doctor and the nursing staff regarding pain management, so that we can all work together.