Pain management

There is nothing worse than seeing someone in pain and knowing there is nothing you can do for them.  In the hospital, a lot of patients suffer in pain despite the fact that they are on the strongest pain med available in the highest safe amount the hospital will allow.  What’s worse is having to put them in more pain  – moving them, rolling them, assessing them, etc.  It takes an impressive amount of strength to see a human being in this condition and be unable to do anything to help.

When the patient is loaded full of pain meds and still suffering, alternative pain management therapies may be of help for the patient.  The nurse can speak with the doctor concerning these therapies to recommend to the patient to aid in this uncontrolled pain.  Among these therapies include: acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, hypnotherapy, biofeedback, relaxation therapy/meditation.  The nurse should assess the patient’s condition and use evidence based practice methods to identify if any of these methods may be applicable or helpful to their patient before discussing their use with the doctor.  Stay on top of your patients’ conditions and on innovations in medicine/therapeutic remedies for various conditions.  This is such a broad topic, it would take a textbook to teach it all and I’m certainly no expert so unfortunately, this post is pretty vague.  My best piece of advice is to know your floor and the types of conditions which you see and befriend pubmed if you haven’t already to see recent studies on what research shows of potential aids.

One other quick thing to note and remember is the importance of pre-medicating patients.  Before measures which may cause pain, such as ambulating or changing wound dressings, be sure to give any pain medications which the patient is prescribed and due for.  Pain management should be highly proactive as it is better to manage the pain before it progresses than it is to try and manage pain which has become severe.  This is an important measure which cannot be forgotten when caring for your patients; simply forgetting to do this is honestly cruel to your patient and a careless mistake which causes severe discomfort and could have been easily avoided.

Below are just a few interesting articles which detail alternative therapies for pain management in much more detail:

  1. Incorporating Alternative Therapies into Pain Management: More patients are considering complementary approaches.
  2. Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Nurses’ Attitudes and Knowledge

  3. A Complementary Approach to Pain Management

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