How to Assess Pain and Take Vital Signs

Pain reveals a lot about a person’s health, which is why it is often called the fifth vital sign. Not only does pain affect a person’s physical health, but it also affects their mental health and quality of life through things such as mood, activity, sleep, hygiene, appetite, and the ability to focus and concentrate. In order to control pain, it is essential to understand how to assess pain and take your vital signs.

How to Assess Pain

Pain is a subjective experience that varies from person to person. What may be excruciating to one person may be perceived as moderate pain to someone else. That’s why it’s important to learn how to assess your pain so your doctor can determine the best approach for pain management. To help assess your pain, your doctor will want to know the following things:

* Where is the pain?

* What kind of pain is it: sharp, dull, aching, throbbing, shooting burning, etc.?

* When did it start?

* What makes it worse?

* What helps ease it?

* How does it affect your life? (e.g., sleep patterns, eating, activity, mood and emotions, family, sexual function, etc.)

How to Assess Vital Signs

Vital signs are the measurements of your body’s most basic functions, and provide a lot of insight into your overall health. The four major vital signs are temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure. These vital signs can be affected by pain in several ways. For example, a normal response to pain is an increase in heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure. Abnormal vital signs can be an indication that pain is severe and is harming your health.

How to Control Pain

The method a person uses for controlling pain depends on their assessment of pain and their vital signs. It’s not always possible to completely get rid of chronic pain, but it is possible to control it.

One way to control pain is through medication. For mild pain, non-prescription medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin and NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin) can be very effective at relieving pain. Moderate pain that doesn’t go away and is difficult to ignore may need stronger, prescription medications such as codeine. Severe and chronic pain may require even stronger prescription opioids such as morphine, hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Medications aren’t the only way to control pain, and shouldn’t be the only method of pain management you use. There are many holistic methods of pain management that are natural, safe and highly effective. These methods include massage, acupuncture, neurofeedback/biofeedback, stress reduction, yoga, laser therapy, physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and more.

At Casa Palmera, we understand that treating chronic pain means healing both the mind and the body, which is why we offer a Chronic Pain Program that uses medical and psychological treatment for chronic pain management. Our physicians are specialized in treating patients who are compromised by pain and who have been unable to manage this pain without the help of medications. We also specialize in treating patients who have developed a dependence on or addiction to prescription painkillers and offer a comprehensive addiction treatment program.

Don’t let pain define who you are any longer. Call Casa Palmera today.

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