A few years ago I talked with someone who worked as a pain specialist at a hospital. She was part of a team that was there to help patients manage their pain.
I found that extremely interesting, and talked with her about their views of pain.
She pointed out that pain can be detrimental to a patient’s well-being. It causes physical and physiological issues. It can slow down healing, cause the patient to move around less which can cause muscle degeneration and greater chance of blood clots, increased sleeplessness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, stress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
These are some pretty serious issues.
She explained that they had discovered that if you work with the patient, explain the pain cycle, discuss expectations, alternatives, consequences, and choices, the patient knows what is happening, what to expect, and what the possibilities are for dealing with the pain that is there as well as in case of increased pain.
They have found that it is MUCH easier to stay on top of, and handle, a smaller amount of pain than it is to let the pain increase and get out of hand and THEN try to decrease it. It then takes much longer to bring the pain back down, and it takes exponentially more effort and/or medication to get the pain under control.
Her team was there as a resource so the nurses could call on them anytime when a patient was having trouble getting pain controlled. They could use their expertise and work with the patient to review possible ways to bring pain relief.
What a novel and refreshing thought process. The Pain Team didn’t run away from pain, they dealt with it. And the patients were able to recover faster, enjoy life more, and relax rather than feeling tense, worried, and stressed.