By Christine Stewart
Assessing pain will give you a much better idea of how to treat a person’s pain and when to seek medical help. The first and most direct way is based on what the person reports, but you can also observe changes in behaviour such as crying or becoming withdrawn and quiet. Use the questions and observations below as a guide to help describe the person’s pain to the health care team:
• When did the pain begin?
• Where is the pain?
• What were you doing when the pain began?
• What does the pain feel like? (Describe your pain).
• Have you had a pain like this before?
• On a scale of 1-10, how bad is the pain?
• How long does it last?
• Does anything make the pain better? Worse?
• Does taking your medication or other treatments stop the pain?
Assessing pain is an ongoing process. If the person is having other physical symptoms such as nausea or shortness of breath, seek immediate help. Different pain medications may be prescribed to control the pain along with massage, relaxation exercises and diet changes to make the person you are caring for more comfortable.