Written by: Brittany Nicole
It is rare that we see a patient come into the ER that is not experiencing pain to some degree. Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is not right. Whether chronic or acute, when pain becomes unbearable our first instinct is to find relief. But where is the best place to seek help when the pain strikes? Unfortunately this question is best answered on a case by case basis as there are numerous factors that come into play. It is not a question that should be taken lightly either, as pain (whether an acute episode, or an worsening of a chronic condition) can certainly be indicative of a medical emergency. In my personal opinion it is always best to seek help from a healthcare provider with even the slightest inkling that something could be wrong. Healthcare professionals in the ER do their best to find the source of the pain, fix it, and prevent further pain from occurring as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, ER wait times (especially in this city) can leave a patient in pain for far longer than is necessary or acceptable.
If pain does land you in the ER, there are certain things that can be beneficial to know to effectively manage your pain. Giving a detailed accurate history of the pain is important in terms of treatment. In order to give a detailed and accurate history, be sure to tell your physician the length of time the pain has been present, exacerbating and alleviating factors as well as the location, severity, and quality of pain a Certain pain medications and comfort measures may work more effectively for some ailments than others. The most important word of advice I can give is — advocate for yourself. You know your body better than anyone. If you know a pain medication, or dose is not going to work or has worn off, say something. More often than not, the squeaky wheel really does get the grease, and nobody should have to sit in pain unnecessarily.
Chronic pain is often so agonizing that it negatively impacts every aspect of life. For those living with chronic pain, relieving it is not as simple as receiving a generic medication. When it comes to chronic pain management, it is important be proactive as it can be difficult to seek help from urgent care centers, primary care physicians and pain management centers during off hours and holiday times. It may be wise to have your pain monitored by a specialist who can provide adequate coverage for times when you know an ER visit is not necessary, but the pain has become unbearable. Pain management specialists are able to provide suggestions for alternatives to medication such as acupuncture, breathing exercises, and certain types of exercise. Specialists are meticulously trained to know what works best for specific types of pain, how to avoid over or under medicating, and are able to provide the best pain management while considering other medical issues the patient may have.
Seeking relief and answers regarding pain issues (no matter what type, quality or quantity) is always important. Pain is subjective and remembering to advocate for yourself if you feel something is not right can make or break certain outcomes in terms of your health. I am a firm believer that as unique individuals we know our bodies better than anyone else. Following intuition, even if a textbook or doctor tells us differently, may not only alleviate pain but could potentially be life saving. While the conquest of pain management f can be an agonizing process, the use of the proper resources and knowledge of how to ask for what you need can make it less painful.
Edited by: Lyfebulb