Medical experts have advised nurses to take advantage of modern trends in managing pain while also emphasising that they need to show more empathy to patients going through pain.
The medical experts spoke at a webinar monitored by Church Times organized by Superior Pharmaceuticals Limited on Tuesday, March 15.
At the webinar which attracted over 200 medical practitioners mainly nurses, the experts gave a general overview of pain and exposed participants to both clinical and non-clinical approaches to relieving pain in patients.
A senior consultant, Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon from the University College Hospital, Dr. Imoniche Adeoye-Sunday, and Assistant Director of Nursing Service at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Nr. Oluremi Awe took turns to put the participants through some of the current trends in relieving and managing pain.
Pain, an alarm bell
They stated that pain is an alarm bell and an indication that something is wrong with the body. Rather than treat the symptom, they said it is important to get to the source of the problem in the body.
They also urged nurses to show more empathy with patients that claim to be going through pain because according to them, “pain is personal.”
They noted that it is difficult to teach the skill of showing empathy but that nurses have to learn it because it goes a long way to help patients cope with pain.
The experts also noted that patients react differently to pain. “The reason for that is because some patients can produce more endorphin than others. Endorphin is the hormone in the body that helps patient to cope with pain,” Said Dr. Adeoye-Sunday
Treatment should be holistic-Sunday Adeoye
Dr. Adeoye Sunday also posits that pain has physical, psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions. In treating it, he counseled that nurses should look at this four-prong approach. “Effective treatment requires holistic treatment,” he said.
In her submission, Nr. Awe said the inability of patients to verbalise pain does not mean they are not suffering from it. She also cited the example of diabetic patients who don’t feel pain in some parts of their bodies.
She said however that pain has the advantage of telling the patient that there is danger. “Pain enforces rest. It is an indication that something is wrong. It thus means that the patient needs to slow down.”
The location of the pain in an individual according to her, is not indicative of the location of the disease in all cases in the individual. She warned that poor pain control is dangerous to the health of the patient.
Alternative pain relief
Since nurses in Nigeria are not permitted by law apart from midwives to prescribe drugs other than Over The Counter Drugs, she suggested they deploy alternative pain relief therapy for their patients.
She said, “use of heat or cold packs is effective in relieving joint pains. There are physical therapies like aerobic exercise for patients that have chest pain that could be effective. Massage and change in lifestyle for patients that have excess weight also go a long way in relieving pain”
Awe said also that diversionary therapy could be of great help for patients with Acute or chronic pain experiences. “Show them love and encourage them to picture images they enjoy seeing to take their minds off the pain. This will help to some extent to relieve the pain.”
The experts also encourage the use of acupuncture and some other non-pharmaceutical methods as the first approach to dealing with pain before drugs could be administered.
While agreeing that there are drugs that are good in managing pain, the experts said proper administration of drugs on patients can’t be overemphasised.
They noted that the need for patients to take the recommended dose at the appropriate time under the right condition is important in pain management.
Fulani women don’t cry during labour-Awe
Awe, a nurse educator who has practiced nursing for close to 30 years brought a cultural dimension to pain management at the webinar.
She cited the example of Fulani women who are not permitted by their culture to cry during labour. “For this set of people, they already have a mindset that it is a taboo to cry when they are in labour so they don’t cry. It tells you the extent to which culture can help in managing pain.”
Earlier at the webinar, Comrade Alani Adetunji in his introductory remark said pain can be managed using multidisciplinary approaches. He noted that the role of the nurse is crucial in the management of pain.
Adetunji was former National President of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives. He is currently the Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress. He was a guest of honour at the webinar.