When we are the primary caregiver for a family member or a friend one of the several challenging conversation topics is pain and pain management. Often the one in pain does not want to be a burden on her / his family members so even broaching the topic can backfire.
Once the pain conversation has started though we still run into challenges by the very nature of the English language and the rather subjective choice of words the one experiencing pain selects. You may often hear sentences like this;
- “We I have felt worse.”, or
- “I am feeling way better than the guy in the room next door.”, or
- “I have felt better that’s for sure.” Or it could sound like,
- “It feels like I have been in a marathon.”, it could even sound like this,
- “Pain is pain and I just have to suck it up and get used to it.”
There are many more where these ones can from. A woman might say something like, “Its worse than labor pains!”
All these phrases have one thing in common, they are subjective and don’t tell the one asking very much at all. So I have attached a table to this week’s article that gives both the one experiencing the pain and the one asking about it some common language that clearly describes the level of pain being experienced without the subjectivity.
The table uses a number scale between 0 for no pain at all and 10 very bad demobilizing pain. Each level of pain also has a sentence to describe it in words and plain language. You will also notice that the levels of pain are also colour coded so you can see quickly the severity of the pain you are trying to manage.
By using this table the care team is able to communicate accurately with each person being clear on the level of pain the loved one is dealing with in the moment. It removes all manner of second-guessing and error prone assumptions and enables much better pain management.