Recently, I’ve received a few emails from people dealing with burns injuries.
The biggest question they’ve had for me is how to deal with the pain during bandage changes.
I’ll never forget just how excruciatingly painful a bandage change can be, so I’ve listed out some things that helped me deal with it.
I hope these can be of use for you.
Pain management tips
- Remember it’s your body, and you’re in control. Ask the nurses to start at the most painful area first. This way, the dressing only gets easier for you, and you know the worst is out of the way. Similarly, if the nurses are changing the bandages too fast, tell them to slow down.
- Try and change as much of the dressings yourself. I found that when I physically removed the dressing, it was less painful because I was in control, and I could change it as fast or as slow as I needed to.
- Make the dressing change as pleasant as possible. I put some music on during my dressings (I loved hardcore gangsta rap as it pumped me up) and asked the nurses to wash my hair using a nice shampoo and conditioner.
- When the pain is too much, ask the nurses for a ‘time out’ for a few minutes to recuperate. I always had a nice drink on hand (e.g. Gatorade or chocolate milk) which I sipped on during these times.
- Have something to look forward to after the dressing is done. I usually watched one of my favourite series.
- Long bandage changes are exhausting. Make sure you have food and drink on hand to maintain your energy levels.
- Make sure you remember to keep breathing. I would try and focus on my breath – counting the inhalations for four seconds and exhaling for four seconds.
- Try and develop a ‘formula’ for the delivery of pain medication so that you can ensure the delivery of the pain medication is optimal. Take into consideration the type and amount of medication and the typical time for you to feel it start working.