NURSING THE INDIVIDUAL
“Quality pain management always involves both a holistic approach to patient care and a scientific approach with meticulous attention to diagnostic and management detail.”
(Watson, Lucas, Hay & Back. 2005, p.170)
A. Describe chronic pain management.
Unlike acute pain which is usually short term, relatively easy to manage and related to a specific event or onset of illness, chronic pain lasts longer than six months and may continue for years. It can be mild or excruciating, can be episodic or continuous and can merely inconvenience or totally incapacitate the patient.
As in acute pain, chronic pain may also originate with an infection or trauma and in some cases degenerative processes such as arthritis are evident. However for many sufferers of chronic pain the cause is unclear. This absence of diagnosis can in itself add to the effects of the pain. Patients become despondent and lose hope that their pain will ever cease.
Chronic pain is difficult to treat as permanent changes take place within the peripheral and central nervous systems meaning the pain cannot always be fully relieved by standard pain medication. In this disorder of the nervous system, signals of pain remain active for weeks, months, or even years and this affects the patient on many levels.
Acknowledging this is the key to effective management of chronic pain. Living with constant pain is debilitating and exhausting for patients. Studies show that persistent pain interferes with activities of daily living (ADL’s) and social interactions (Breivik 2009). This can result in serious psychosocial implications.
Patients can become anxious and depressed which in turn promotes physiological changes within the body. Studies have been conducted which corroborate this.
NURSING THE INDIVIDUAL 3
‘Melzack & Wall’s ‘Gate Control Theory of Pain Perception’ (1998)...