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I was able to give my presentation on pain management today. I think it went well, though I could've talked about aspects of that for much longer than the three to five minutes allotted in class. Mainly, I focussed on relaxation skills and applications for pain management, though I also defined types of pain. In that little bit, I said that acute pain is what we experience when something is wrong, like if we hit our fingers with hammers. I also mentioned that acute pain happens to some of us more often than others which got a laugh.

I then basically discussed the various relaxation techniques and how they can apply to pain. Breathing, or more specifically, focussing on breath is a good way to not focus on the pain (to an extent). It's portable, and can take very little time too.

Muscle relaxation is also helpful. There's progressive muscle relaxation, which we experienced in class as actively tensing then relaxing the muscle. But I found a few references to passive relaxation where you imagine the body softening, and becoming warm, soft and relaxed. That's good with pain, since I've noticed that tensing can be really painful if you do it in the part of the body that's in pain.

Then there's imagery, and I talked about how imagery can be a distraction, or you can imagine things that decrease your pain. For example, imagining warmth sometimes decreases my pain. I also mentioned the body scan concept here, where you specifically imagine that painful part relaxing once you're deeply relaxed.

I then mentioned a few relevant studies, which I can't find right now. But all in all, it was a good presentation. I wish I'd had more time though. One last note, which I actually presented at the beginning is that relaxation is usally just one part of managing pain. It's rarely, if ever, the only thing needed to control pain.

Then, though, the professor started talking. She said something interesting, which I don't remember ever hearing, and don't know if it's actually something I could practically apply. She said medications don't work as well after reaching over a five out of ten on the pain scale, so it's best to catch the pain then. If that rule is true, I've been breaking it for over a year. I mean, I always take medication that's supposed to be on a schedule as I'm directed. I never intentionally skip doses of my daily medications. But meds like Percocet, I tend to avoid until I have to take them (usually a high six or seven or more). So, is this a reasonable guideline to follow?

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hurricaneamy
Dec. 6th, 2006 12:41 am (UTC)
The thing your prof said reminds me of something. When I got out of surgery in June, they told me not to wait till I was in pain before I took the meds, to take them when the pain was still manageable, to keep it from becoming way out of hand. I wonder if that's what she was saying? It's definitely something to think about, like not waiting till you are at about a high 6 or 7, but taking meds when you are at a 5 or even a 4.
Just some thoughts.
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