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Patient Bill of Rights

  • The right to have your report of pain taken seriously and to be treated with dignity and respect by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.
  • The right to have your pain thoroughly assessed and promptly treated.
  • The right to be informed by your doctor about what may be causing your pain, possible treatments, and the benefits, risks and costs of each.
  • The right to participate actively in decisions about how to manage your pain.
  • The right to have your pain reassessed regularly and your treatment adjusted if your pain has not been eased.
  • The right to be referred to a pain specialist if your pain persists.
  • The right to get clear and prompt answers to your questions, take time to make decisions, and refuse a particular type of treatment if you choose.


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Top Ten Tips: The Road to Pain Relief

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak up! Only you know the extent of your pain and how it affects your quality of life.
  2. Knowledge is power. There are a variety of drug and non-drug therapies (e.g., physical therapy, yoga, meditation) available to effectively control pain; these are typically used in combination. Ask your healthcare provider about ways to relax and cope with pain. Your pain may feel worse if you are stressed, depressed or anxious.
  3. Set realistic goals with your healthcare provider for things you most want to do, such as sleeping, working, exercising or enjoying sexual relations. Begin with the easiest goals first.
  4. Tell your provider what over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements you take, at what dose and how often. Also let him or her know about other personal health habits (e.g., smoking tobacco, alcohol use), which can interfere with some pain treatments and increase pain levels.
  5. Keep a pain journal to record the frequency and intensity of your pain. Use descriptive words, such as sharp, crushing, throbbing, shooting or tender. Also, take note of how well your treatment plan is working and what makes your pain worse or better.
  6. Write down questions you have before each appointment, and tell your provider(s) if there is something you don’t understand.
  7. Bring a relative or friend to your appointments for support and to help take notes and remember what was said.
  8. Find out about support groups and educational programs in your area or online.
  9. Reach out to supportive friends and family members when you need them.
  10. Know there will be good days and bad days.