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Controlling Pain

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What is pain? 

Pain is an uncomfortable feeling that tells you something may be wrong in your body. When there is trauma to your body, like infection, inflammation, arthritis, tumors, surgery or an injury, tiny cells send messages along nerves into your spinal cord and then up to your brain. Pain treatments block or decrease these messages. 

You have a right to pain control 

People used to think that pain was something they “just had to put up with.” But with current treatments, that’s no longer true. You can work with your nurse or doctor to control pain. 

Pain control can help you 

With less pain, walking and other activities are easier. Breathing and sleeping are improved. The benefits of good pain control include fewer problems (like pneumonia and blood clots) and better healing. 

Communication is key 

Pain is real… and it affects each person differently. The nurse and doctor caring for you need to know about your pain.

The nurse or doctor will ask you to explain what the pain is like:
  • Is it sharp or dull?
  • Is it constant or on and off?
  • Is it annoying or unbearable?
The nurse or doctor will ask you to score the severity of your pain, using a pain scale.
Your pain score is used to adjust the amount and type of medication and treatment you receive.

Take (or ask for) pain medicine:
  • when pain first begins
  • before a procedure or test
  • before a therapy session
You may be afraid to talk about your pain or think that you will be labeled a complainer if you do. Not talking about pain can lead to unnecessary suffering and a slower recovery. If your pain treatments aren’t working, tell the nurse or doctor. The pain management plan will be changed until pain is controlled. 

Pain control:  What are the options 

Both drug and non-drug treatments can help to prevent and control pain. Sometimes a combination of treatments works to manage pain. You, your family, the nurse and doctor will work together to find what controls your pain. 


Various medicines can be used to manage your pain. For mild pain, a nonprescription drug like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil) may be helpful. For more intense pain, a stronger prescription drug like morphine may be needed. Your need for medicine may change over time; this is normal. Don’t worry about getting “hooked” on pain medicines. Research studies show that this is very rare—nearly all people stop taking pain medicine when the pain stops. 

Non-medication treatments 

Many other treatments are used to treat pain. Some examples of non-drug treatments are:
  • Use of heat and cold
  • Rest or position change
  • Relaxation methods
  • Nerve blocks
  • Biofeedback
  • TENS units
  • Surgery

If You Need Blood 

PinnacleHealth’s Blood Bank is a member of the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank. Our Blood Bank will supply blood if you need it while in our care. You will not have to pay for blood components, but we encourage you to have friends or family members donate in your name so blood will be available for other patients.
Click on the following link for hours and directions: PinnacleHealth Blood Donor Center