Managing Pain at the End of Life

Friday, September 05, 2014

Pain management in end-of-life care presents a unique set of opportunities for patients and physicians. Dr. Edward Hill details some of the options in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Not everyone has pain at the end of life, but if you do, your doctor can help. He or she will ask about your pain. Questions might include where, how much and how often it hurts.

If youre unable to talk, you may show signs of pain such as frowning, a fast heartbeat, quick breathing and restlessness. These can tell your doctor about your level of pain.

You may have medicines such as over-the-counter painkillers, like acetaminophen, and prescription medicines, such as codeine and morphine. Other types of medicines may help with specific kinds of pain.

The pain medication you take could have side effects. You may feel queasy or throw up. You might be itchy, tired or constipated. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these side effects.

Addiction is rare when medicine is used correctly. Your doctor should carefully follow your use of pain medicine. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.