Following a workplace injury, It is common for injured workers to begin to worry that their quality of life may be affected. That’s why one of the most important steps in a patient’s recovery is setting effective pain management goals. Goals allow the patient to take control of the injury and make progress that is measurable. Clear goals allow both patients and providers to measure a patient’s improvement and establishes a starting point and a destination to be reached. As you develop a pain management goal for your recovery, here are some examples of clear and achievable goals.
The first and most major pain management goal is pain control and relief while taking the lowest dose of medications possible. Meaningful pain relief has been proven to improve functionality and quality of life. Pain relief can be obtained through a well-rounded plan that is developed with your health care provider by continuously evaluating doses to find the optimal dose for the individual patient.
It is important to report daily medication dosing that correlates to a pain scale. Through education and communication between the patient and the provider, this will allow the lowest dose to be prescribed without putting the patient’s quality of life at risk. Optimized dosing has been shown to decrease overall side effects associated with medications, as well.
Taking Your Medications as Prescribed
Another effective pain management goal is to always take medications as prescribed. Following the prescription guidelines will allow the pharmacist or physician to evaluate how the prescription is working for a patient. It also ensures that the medication is being used appropriately.
Find other therapy options to support the use of oral pain medications. For example: acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and tai chi have all been used as non-medication based options for pain therapy. Keep in mind that finding the right therapy takes times and dedication. Unlike with medication, adjunct therapy takes a bit longer for the effects to show but dedication is key with any goal being set in pain management. Before starting any therapy, be sure to speak with your health care provider for further guidance.
Setting a goal to increase daily activity is a must. By gradually increasing physical activity under provider supervision, the body and brain may gain better functionality and endurance. It can help your recovery overall by increasing quality of life and acts as an aid to returning to normal daily activities.
Monitor Your Mental Health
With chronic pain, patient’s sometime lose some of their mobility and are forced to change their daily routine which has been linked to depression. It is important to set a goal to monitor one’s overall mental health. Being mindful of a present state of mind will make it easier for the patient to communicate what they are feeling and how their pain is affecting them. Pain can get worse with a weaker state of mind therefore, setting a goal to practice focus on your mental health can provide pain control and relief. If you’re experiencing signs of depression, be sure to speak to your health care provider immediately so they can help you manage it and focus on your recovery.
Effective pain management starts with the patient. Setting goals provides an understanding of where you are now and where you want to be.. With chronic pain, there is no absolute, but it is possible to improve functionality and provide pain relief. Remember, it is important to consult with your health care provider about your goals because every patient is very unique. As always, we’re here to help.