Pain Education

Pain Education

Firstly, can we please discuss that “pain education” sounds like a threat from some two-bit thug in a bad movie? And yet, it’s actually printed on my very official (well, I guess, printed, anyway) hospital paperwork. Can I claim I’m educated in pain already and don’t want a lesson?


Pain Education


Pain Education


In semi-seriousness, I’m actually very shit at managing my own pain. Ben is always telling me that I am under-drugging myself. So when I was flicking through the hospital paperwork on the weekend to make sure I hadn’t missed anything (I had, sorta, which is a boring story of its own that I can’t be bothered to tell) I took another read of their pain scale.


(Not to be confused with better pain scale. And I’m totally not planning on brining a printed copy of that to hospital.)


Hospital Pain Education
Ripped from my QHealth documents. Don’t sue me, QHealth. K Thanx.


I am often into a 5 or 6 before I “give in” and take anything. That’s probably not good. Or smrt.




As ridiculous as it seems to me, referring back to this pain scale is actually very helpful. Becuase pain makes you dumb. Well it makes me dumb. I hope it also makes other people dumb and it’s not just me.


For example, yesterday I had a physio appointment after work (I go to a student clinic cos they are awesome and I like having students treat me, they are ALWAYS interested and love learning from you and are fully supervised by qualified physios). Oh, and I can afford student clinics. I have bursitis and tendinopathy in my left shoulder and the weeks of bed-work-bed have not helped it in the slightest. I hadn’t actually had a diagnosis or scans the last time I was able to get to the physio. I ended up doing some exercises, which barely qualified as stretches. And …ow. They were too much for my weakened body right now. Yes, a 45 second (not minute, second) stretch that barely stretches anything hurts. So it was decided to strap my shoulder to give it some support to help it get back into a healthier form.


It was a bit uncomfortable to drive home, because apparently I roll my shoulders forward while driving. I guess that’s just part of reaching for a steering wheel. I don’t know, I had never given it any thought until yesterday. Now it wasn’t impairing my ability to drive, otherwise I would have just pulled over and taken it off, it was just odd. But after a day at work, a physio appointment… well that’s enough to wreckedy wreck me right now. To make it “better”, my sinuses started squeezing the shit out of my head on the way home. Ugh. Ok body, I get it, you fucking hate me right now. I took some painkillers when I got home, a mild codeine dose.


Two and a half hours later, I was still cranky. I was uncomfortable. I couldn’t stop thinking about the strapping on my shoulder and my sinuses. But I wouldn’t take anything more. In then, I was convinced to by Ben. It helped that I reached for something and yelped in pain. Nearly a full hour later the stronger codeine dose kicked in and I finally was mostly comfortable. I could reach without yelping. Just with discomfort. So basically it took about 25mg of codeine last night to get me to a point where I wasn’t pain free, but was merely mildly uncomfortable.


Which is a pretty good (bad?) example of how shit I am at taking painkillers and getting myself to an actual-nearly-pain-free level. Which means I need to keep going back to that pain chart and reminding myself that not being in pain is ok, as I actually have quite high levels of pain right now. And this is before the burning of the tonsils. (Not to be confused with the running on the tonsils. Or bulls.)


I’ve now forgotten what the point of this post was and have nothing to say in conclusion. Can I blame that on the codeine?


20 Replies to “Pain Education”

  1. The pain scales is a great idea because I think most of us underestimate our pain number. My son has the highest pain threshold and his 3 is most peoples 7 or 8. It makes medicating his pain almost impossible.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It really is helpful for me. The problem is remembering it.

  2. yes we have to remember that pain relief was invented for a reason!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Yep. One day I’ll work it out haha.

  3. I changed my thinking about painkillers when I read a random article about periods a couple of years ago, where they said that taking painkillers earlier can actually keep the swelling and cramps down. I tried it, and it worked for me, so now I apply it to the heavy pain – sore shoulder, toothache. headache (although magnesium has been a wonder drug for helping with headaches and cramps)

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I remember hearing about that too. And when I was still having periods (mostly stopped them now with depo shots, woo!) I tried it and it worked fairly decently.

  4. Look after yourself Ness – you’ve had such a rough trot, hoping the upcoming surgery will help relieve some of the ongoing issues. My tip from when I had my tonsils out 10 years back? USE ALL THE PAINKILLERS. It’s going to hurt. But once you’re healed and you stop feeling like shit, it’s awesome. best thing I ever did!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      And that’s the weird thing, I have no problem with the idea of taking whatever they prescribe me post surgery! It’s the vague sick and tired and sore feeling that makes it hard to me to think about if it’s pain or tiredness or what.
      My only drug related concern is tolerating strong ones I haven’t taken, but I’ve got that on the list of questions to ask (well, mostly like for Ben to ask) at discharge. I’d hate to get nausea on something strong and be unable to take them!

  5. I hear ya hun! I have chronic breast pain following cancer treatment and radiation. Pain sucks and sees me in bed all-sooky by 6pm. x

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Oh I didn’t know it could leave you with chronic pain 🙁 I’m sorry to hear that. It’s hard when you can’t cope past 6pm, it seems to be my cut off time right now.

  6. Hahaha I often blame things on codeine. It’s the perfect pharmaceutical get out of jail free card.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It really is haha. Let’s see what they give me post surgery (paperwork says prescription strength codeine, on the phone they told me endone – which I’ve never had).

  7. Definitely blame it on the codeine. I’m allergic to the stuff so I can’t blame that. Good idea to take more notice of the pain scale. I often leave medication too late for my headaches.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I think sometimes there’s so much scaremongering about addiction (not that it’s not serious) that it sits in the back of our minds going “oh, better not”.

  8. Keeping on top of the pain, before it takes control, seems like a reasonable idea to me. If the pain scale helps with that, fabulous! #teamIBOT

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I hope it helps to remind me to!

  9. I’m the opposite and hoover up those painkillers. Life is too short to spend time feeling uncomfortable. Painkillers are there to be taken! Hope that surgery (and some meds) bring you some sweet relief soon!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It will be nice to have the fluey viralley feeling all the time!

  10. Hope this surgery finally can see you starting to recover! Take care and good luck with it.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It will be nice to be able to regain my health!

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