FAQs on Pain Management

Treating pain is different for each patient. Some people do not feel pain as intense and severely as others. Depending on the patient’s pain tolerance, pain management is different for everyone. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the management of chronic pain.

What is the VAS scale?

The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) is a horizontal line, with no pain on the left (numbered 0) and unbearable pain on the right (numbered 10). There are numbers 1-9 in between the two outer numbers, and the pain is rated on the increasing number scale. Based on how you feel your pain is, you inform the healthcare worker of the number. The VAS tool is used for pain management. Since pain is different for everyone, the number you give to rate your pain is important, as it lets the nurse understand the severity of your condition.

How much pain can I expect with my procedure?

No matter what procedure or surgery you are having, you will experience some degree of pain. The Annapolis pain management doctor will use local anesthetics to numb the procedure area, but once this wears off, the incision site will be sore. No two people are alike, so the pain you experience will be unique and personal. The doctor and healthcare team will administer medications to control your pain following your procedure.

How long does it take for pain pills to begin working?

Usually, oral pain medicines dissolve in the stomach. These agents take between 30 and 60 minutes to start working after they are swallowed. Pills dissolve slowly in the stomach, but they usually control your pain for around 4 hours.

How long does it take for a patent controlled analgesia (PCA) pump to work?

Some patients have a PCA after surgery or a procedure. After you push the button on the PCA pump, initial relief of pain will occur within 3-5 minutes. PCA medication works quickly, but can last for up to 1-3 hours. This varies, depending on the type of medicine and the patient’s tolerance.

How will I get my pain medications when I am in the hospital?

If you are admitted to the hospital for some reason, or if you have a scheduled surgery, regulations allow for your oral pain medicine to be given on an “as needed” basis. This means the patient must ask for the medicines at scheduled times during the day, or when increased pain occurs. After surgery, you can keep track of your pain medicine and ask for it every 3-4 hours. This will keep you comfortable while you recover and participate in physical therapy.

What pain medications are most often prescribed?

The most commonly prescribed pain medicine in pill form is hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, and Norco). These drugs are formulated with acetaminophen. Depending on your level of pain, these drugs are quite efficient.

How long will I take pain medication?

The doctor will most likely only prescribe pain medicine for a few weeks. Patients progress at different paces, so this is tailored to the unique individual. Most patients take pain pills more often during the first few days after surgery. After you have had time to heal from a procedure, you will require less and less pain medicine.

What are the side effects of pain medicines?

The most common side effects of opioid pain medications are:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Itching

At All Star Pain Management, Dr. Zamfirov offers comprehensive pain treatments. This includes both medication management and interventional treatments. Most insurance is accepted at the practice, call today for relief!