Managing Pain

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Think about the following questions to help you and your doctor figure out the cause of your pain.

  • Where is the pain located? Does it stay in one place or move throughout the body?
  • What does your pain feel like? Is it continuous, or does it come and go?
  • What triggers your pain? Is it greater after certain activities or at particular times of day?
  • Is the pain better when your medications are “on” and worse when they are “off”?
  • What relieves your pain? What makes it worse?

Self-Management of Pain

  • If pain begins suddenly or an injury occurs, it is considered acute, especially if there is swelling or bruising. Apply cold packs to the area for 15–20 minutes several times a day for 48–72 hours. Elevate the area to decrease swelling.
  • If pain is long-lasting (chronic), regularly apply heat to the area for 15–20 minutes.
  • If muscles feel tense or knotted, try self-massage. Apply pressure to the area with a tennis ball or massage tool, using body weight against it for deeper pressure. Scheduling an appointment with a massage therapist may be helpful.
  • Keep moving, changing positions frequently, and take stretch breaks throughout the day.

If pain lasts more than two weeks, intensifies or worsens or interferes with daily function or sleep, talk to your doctor as soon as you can.

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