Pain / Symptom Management
Pain is a very individual experience. The pain messages that the nervous system sends to the brain are interpreted in light of personal factors such as age, sex, cultural background, and past experience with pain - as well as what the pain means to the person.
Only the person with pain can say whether pain is present, and how severe it is. If patients say they are in pain, then they are in pain, and they should be treated accordingly. Health professionals need to identify the source of pain whenever possible because that will influence the choice of treatment. Physical sources of pain should be addressed first. Consideration should also be give to the fact that physical pain is intimately connected to emotional, psychological, and spiritual factors.
Careful assessment of pain is essential. A numerical scale to rate pain from 0 to 10 is helpful for identification of the degree of pain. Medications can be administered to provide comfort. Other therapies such as the application of heat or cold, massage, physical therapy or other comfort measures may provide relief.
A patient's feeling of fear, loneliness, frustration, anger, depression, isolation or boredom may increase experiences of pain. However, if a person's emotional outlook can be improved, pain may be relieved to some extent.