Pain is the unfavorable feeling of the body which cannot be avoided under normal conditions. The tolerance for pain is different for all individuals. What is painful to one person might not be painful to another because of their lifestyle. By being used to pain makes it easier for a person to tolerate the hurt. There are five vital signs considered in examining the human body. Along with blood pressure, core temperature, pulse, and respiration; pain is considered by the Commission on Accreditation of HealthCare Organizations as the fifth vital sign.
As a result, pain is also being monitored as part of the patient care. 1 Since there is no general border that dictates if the pain is tolerable or too much, debates pertaining to the medication of pain arise. The question is: “Is pain under or over medicated? ” Pain can be prevented and cured. Painkillers are developed in order to give an immediate relief to someone who is in pain. Nevertheless, it cannot be done easily because treating pain entails danger to the body if not properly monitored. The most common painkillers are the analgesics.
The analgesics work in two ways: the first one is by protecting the brain from the pain signals, making the brain impenetrable to the said signals. The second way is the analgesic’s attempt to meddle with the brains interpretation of signals, making the patient ease the pain. Through analgesics, the use of anesthesia can also be avoided. Analgesics come in two forms: narcotic and non-narcotic. 2 Aside from analgesics, there are several other pain relievers. However, this fact does not imply that pain is sufficiently medicated.
Consider the case of patients with rheumatic conditions. People having this kind of health problem do not immediately resort to taking pain relievers even though they experience pain every now and then. The patients are afraid to be dependent to the drug, or worse, be addicted to it. 3 Pain relievers also have varying effects to the patients with arthritis. The patients find it hard to risk taking pain relievers due to the threat of side effects. In this particular case, chronic pain is not only poorly managed but also under medicated.
In other scenarios, however, pain can be regarded to be over medicated. I can say that over medication happens when people take painkillers as soon as they feel pain, no matter how minor the hurt is. Pain medication applies only when the situation calls for it. It must not be taken daily because when the body gets used to the painkillers’ effect, the body becomes dependent to the drug. A worse scenario is the patient’s immunity to the drug as time goes by. As a result, when the body feels pain, a higher dosage of painkiller must be used.
Pain is also over medicated when people self-medicate, unwary of the proper dosage and type of painkiller to be used. This is because the effect of narcotic painkillers varies depending on the person who will take it. Over medication often results to over dosage which is dangerous to our health. In my opinion, it cannot be generalized that pain is under or over medicated. This is because circumstances apply in a case to case basis. There are several diagnoses wherein the use of pain reliever is advised by the doctor.
These diagnoses are different from each other, hence the need of proper knowledge of the pain relievers to be used. In order for pain to be sufficiently medicated, one must not result to self-medication. He or she must consult the doctor first to be sure of the right kind and dosage of the painkiller. Moreover, those who do not have chronic problems and the like must try to develop a strong tolerance to pain because it is not healthy to always resort to pain relievers.
Sources: 1Eustice, Carol. (October 2008) “The Facts of Analgesics”. About. com Guide. Retrieved from http://arthritis. about. com/od/analgesic/a/factsanalgesics. htm on April 30, 2009. 2Eustice, Carol. (January 2006) “When Are Pain Medications Appropriate For Arthritis Patients? ” About. com Guide. Retrieved from http://arthritis. about. com/od/analgesic/f/painmedications. htm on April 30, 2009. 3Eustice, Carol. (January 2006) “When Are Pain Medications Appropriate For Arthritis Patients? ” About. com Guide. Retrieved from http://arthritis. about. com/od/analgesic/f/painmedications. htm on April 30, 2009.