/ Talking with your provider about pain
Talking with your provider about pain

Questions to ask before taking pain medicines

  • What types of medicines would work best for my pain?
  • Does the IHS / Tribal / Urban Indian clinic have these types of drugs?
    • If not, where can I get them?
    • Will the IHS / Tribal / Urban Indian clinic pay for my travel costs?
    • How much do the drugs cost?
    • Will the IHS / Tribal / Urban Indian clinic pay for these drugs (reimburse me)?
  • How many weeks of these drugs am I allowed to have? (NOTE: this is an important question to ask if you have to travel a long way to the pharmacy or clinic that will provide these drugs)
  • If I am in too much pain to travel to pick up the drugs myself, may I have someone from my family pick up more of these drugs for me?
  • How am I supposed to take this medicine?
    • (Is it a pill I take every four hours;
    • a suppository I put inside my rectum;
    • do I rub the medication on my gums whenever I feel I need quick relief from my pain)?
  • How long should I take this medicine?
  • Are there any problems if I am taking this medicine and the other medicines I am taking?
  • Are there any problems if I am taking this medicine while I am also taking traditional Indian medicines, teas, juices or poultices?
  • Are there any non-drug methods to help with my pain?

Talking to your provider about your pain

  • Talking with your provider about your pain is very important.
  • To better tell your provider about your pain, it may be helpful to keep a daily pain diary which includes:
    • Where/when pain occurs
    • What the pain feels like (sharp, dull)
    • How long the pain lasts
    • What makes the pain better/worse
    • How the pain affects your life (sleep, working, cooking, taking care of kids)
  • Describe your pain as clearly as possible
  • List all medications you are taking
  • How is your pain relief
  • How does your pain feel throughout the day
  • How would you describe your pain
  • Do you have breakthrough pain
    • If yes, do they happen without warning? Are they related to activity
    • How intense is your breakthrough pain
    • How much relief do you get for your breakthrough pain
  • When did pain start
  • Where do you feel the pain
  • What is the pain like (sharp/dull/etc)
  • Is the pain mild, moderate/severe
  • Is the pain constant or does it come and go
  • Does the pain change when you move
  • What makes better/worse
  • What have you tried for pain relief
  • How much pain do your current treatments relief

What should I do if my pain medicine isnt working?

  • Call/tell your healthcare provider
  • Ideas:
    • I am calling because I am still having pain.
    • My pain is (___) on a scale of 0-10 (or some type of rating)
    • I take (pain medicine) every (___) hours
    • My worst pain is (____) on a scale of 0-10
    • I have taken (___) does of breakthrough pain medicine in the last 24 hours
    • I am having the following side effects (____)
    • Because of my pain, I can’t (____)





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