If you have pain medication to take as needed, take it before doing things that make your pain worse.
Try relaxation exercises (such as deep breathing) or meditation to help lessen your pain.
Keep track of what makes your pain better and worse. Your healthcare team can use this information to treat your pain better. Keep a list of the medications you take, how much they help the pain, and how long the pain relief lasts.
When you describe your pain, you can give it a number from 0 to 10. 0 would be no pain, and 10 is the worst pain ever.
Keep pain medications in a safe place away from visitors and out of reach of children and pets.
Many pain medications cause constipation (difficulty pooping), so keep track of your bowel movements (poop). If your healthcare provider told you to take medication to prevent constipation, take as directed.
Call your MSK healthcare team or go to the nearest emergency room if you have:
- Pain that does not get better after taking pain medication.
- New or worsening pain.
- New or worsening trouble sleeping or thinking clearly.
- Shortness of breath.
- Trouble staying awake to perform normal tasks.
Your care team may direct you to your regional Symptomatic Care Clinic (SCC) or the Urgent Care Center (UCC).
Follow up with your MSK healthcare team after discharge.
You can search for information on this topic and many others in MSK’s Patient and Caregiver Education library at www.mskcc.org/pe