There are no machines that can measure pain. Pain is whatever the affected person says it is. This is why pain has become a medical specialty, and why you see a pain specialist just as you would see a heart specialist for your heart and a bone specialist for your hip.
At Saint Alphonsus, we offer an Inpatient Pain Service because pain is a specialized practice. Our program is managed by nurse practitioners who can be contacted when pain becomes an issue and requires intervention. Our nurse practitioners are board-certified in pain management.
A large part of our inpatient pain practice is treating postoperative pain, or pain experienced after surgery. People have varying degrees of pain after surgery and research has shown that pain can slow the recovery process. Therefore, it is important to begin assessing and treating your pain immediately after surgery.
There are different ways to administer treatment for postoperative pain. Pain medication can be given orally, by a shot into your muscle or through an IV. It can also be given through an epidural or even through catheters placed near a peripheral nerve. A technique referred to as "patient-controlled analgesia" (PCA) allows you, the patient, to be able to control your pain medication by pushing a button. A PCA may be used through an IV, as well as through an epidural. If you should have an epidural while in the hospital, one of the pain nurse practitioners and an anesthesiologist will visit you daily. In addition to postoperative pain, the Inpatient Pain Service sees patients with an array of other pain problems while patients are in the hospital.
Your physician can request an evaluation by one of the nurse practitioners to treat any pain issues while you are at Saint Alphonsus. These nurse practitioners have specialized training in addressing your pain. We work with you, your family, caretaker and significant others when treating pain. Your physician can also request a preoperative pain evaluation.
Under the direct care of your physician and/or the pain team, we will manage your pain and pain medicines appropriately. During your stay, the use of pain medicine usually lasts only a few days. We want you to express your pain and communicate your needs. Being stoic or strong will not help your pain.