Santa Fe New Mexican
Talk to your doctor about the possibility of pain and available medicines and complementary therapies so you can plan ahead. It’s easier to control pain when it starts rather than waiting until it becomes severe. See page 49 for more information about how Supportive Care Medicine can help relieve pain. The American Cancer Society has information and resources related to pain, including a pain diary and instructions on how to develop a pain management plan with your care team. Visit cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345. Pain-management tips: • With your provider, set goals about your pain and medicines you are willing to try • Your provider should check your pain at every appointment, including doing a physical exam and tests as needed • Keep track of your pain according to a scale of 1 to 10 • Be specific about where it hurts and what it feels like • Incorporate a mindfulness practice to help breathe through pain flares • Increase your water intake (can ease headaches) • Prioritize your time so you have energy for what you want to do • Talk to a therapist or spiritual leader about the emotional effects of pain Sources: American Cancer Society and International Pain Foundation (internationalpain.org/) I encourage patients to be open and honest with their providers if they are experiencing pain. It’s important to describe their pain – when it happens and what makes it better and worse. We often hear from patients that they felt they needed to “tough it out.” Pain has so many negative consequences on the body, including anxiety, depression, stress, difficulty sleeping, poor quality of life, and a negative impact on wound healing. We’d like patients to know that there are folks here to help. We can tailor pain management to meet their needs and preferences. Don’t suffer in silence.