> "Research clearly shows that unrelieved pain can slow recovery, create
> burdens for patients and their families, and increase costs to the health
> care system."
When I was in the hospital there were posters up for "Pain -- the other vital sign." There is a great deal of activity in hospitals and nursing practice around assessing pain just as temperature, pulse, and blood pressure are taken.
Last winter I attended a conference for people working with cancer patients and heard an excellent discussion of pain by an ER physician and a anesthesiologist. Both were adamant that the patient's perception of pain was the only way to assess it. Anesthesiologists have become central in developing pain control methods.
As I read the messages on this list each day, I become more and more convinced that the first step to managing pain is simply to have it acknowledged. When we perceive that our doctors don't believe we have pain, we are frightened, discouraged, and hopeless.
I usually assess my pain on a scale of 1 to 10 where ten is unbearable. It really helps to realize that the pain does vary with what I eat and how tired I am.
-- Kate Murphy email@example.com