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Caring for Someone in Pain

Caring for Someone in Pain

When you are in pain, it can be difficult to focus on anything else; pain can affect every part of your life.  You may not be able to eat or sleep well.  You may not have the energy to do the things you enjoyed doing in the past.  You may not want to talk with loved ones or maintain your relationships.  Your pain may consume your daily life.  Physical pain can take away peace of mind, comfort, enjoyment and most of all hope.

The Truth about Pain

Some people think that pain is a natural part of aging or illness - that is a myth. There is almost always a reason for the pain and most physical pain can be managed.   Learning the truth about pain and what you can do to manage your pain can help you focus on other parts of your life and enjoy your days. 

Pain at the End of Life

Pain associated with a life-limiting illness or at the end of life requires special attention and can best be treated by a palliative care or hospice provider. Palliative care and hospice providers are not only experts at physical pain control at the end of life, but are compassionate professionals who can help bring peace and comfort to the last months and weeks of life.

Just as pain at earlier times in life may be both physical and emotional, this is also true for pain at the end of life.  Physical and emotional pain may increase as a person deals with challenges nearing the end of life can bring. There are financial affairs that may need attention; discussions about the kind of care needed and wanted; visits to spend time with loved ones; conversations to bring closure to any issues or relationship a person at the end of life may want to resolve and working through any fears that the end of life may bring.

Physical pain and emotional pain at the end of life can best be addressed by working with a palliative care or hospice team.  The team will include professionals who are trained to help manage your physical and emotional pain so that the end of life is as comfortable as it can be.  The goal is to manage pain so the person receiving care can get on with the business of living and enjoy their days!

Using Pain Medications Safely

Learn about all of the pain treatment options that are available.  In addition to medication, complementary therapies such as massage and meditation may be helpful. 

Many people are concerned they will become addicted to pain medications or be ‘knocked out’.  Pain control does not lead to addiction nor is the goal to keep a person ‘knocked out’.  There is a difference between addiction, which is a psychological craving for medicine, and physical dependence. People who need opioids (narcotics) for a period of time may develop a physical dependence on the medicine, with uncomfortable symptoms, such as sweating, chills, and nausea, if the medicine is stopped suddenly. This is only a temporary situation that can be prevented by slowly reducing the medicine over a few days or a few weeks as directed by a physician.