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Prostate Cancer Pain: A Guide for You and Your Family

Developing a Plan for Pain Control continued...

Keeping Track of Details About the Pain

You may find it helpful to keep a record or a journal to track the pain and what works best to ease it. You can share this record with those caring for you. This will help them figure out what method of pain control works best for you. Your records can include:

  • Words to describe the pain
  • Any activity that seems to be affected by the pain or that increases or decreases the pain
  • Any activity that you cannot do because of the pain
  • The name and the dose of the pain medicine you are taking
  • The times you take pain medicine or use another pain-relief method
  • The number from your rating scale that describes your pain at the time you use a pain-relief measure
  • Pain rating 1 to 2 hours after the pain-relief method
  • How long the pain medicine works
  • Pain rating throughout the day to record your general comfort
  • How pain interferes with your normal activities, such as sleeping, eating, sexual activity, or working
  • Any pain-relief methods other than medicine you use such as rest, relaxation techniques, distraction, skin stimulation, or imagery
  • Any side effects that occur

What If I Need to Change My Pain Medicine? 

If one medicine or treatment does not work, there is almost always another one that can be tried. Also, if a schedule or the way you are taking medicine does not work for you, changes can be made. Talk to your doctor or nurse about finding the pain medicine or method that works best for you. You may need a different pain medicine, a combination of pain medicines, or a change in the dose of your pain medicines if:

  • Your pain is not relieved.
  • Your pain medicine does not start working within the time your doctor said it would.
  • Your pain medicine does not work for the length of time your doctor said it would. You have breakthrough pain. You have side effects.
  • You have serious side effects, such as trouble breathing, dizziness, or rashes. Call your doctor right away if these symptoms occur. Side effects such as sleepiness, nausea, and itching usually go away after your body adjusts to the medication. Let your doctor know if these bother you.
  • The schedule or the way you are taking the medicine does not work for you.
  • Pain interferes with your normal activities, such as eating, sleeping, working, and sexual activity.

To help make the most of your pain control plan:

  • Take your pain medicine on a regular schedule (by the clock) to help prevent persistent or chronic pain.
  • Do not skip doses of your scheduled medicine.
  • Once you feel the pain, it is harder to control.
  • If you experience breakthrough pain, use your short-acting medicine as your doctor suggests.
  • Don't wait for the pain to get worse - if you do, it may be harder to control.
  • Be sure only one doctor prescribes your pain medicine. If another doctor changes your medicine, the two doctors should discuss your treatment with each other.
  • Never take someone else's medicine. Medicines that worked for you in the past or that helped a friend or relative may not be right for you.
  • Pain medicines affect different people in different ways. A very small dose may work for you, while someone else may need to take a much larger dose to obtain pain relief.
  • Remember, your pain control plan can be changed at any time.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on March 02, 2014

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