Helpful Information

Pain Control

Slow Rhythmic Breathing for Relaxation*

  1. Breathe in slowly and deeply.
  2. As you breathe out slowly, feel yourself beginning to relax; feel the tension leaving your body.
  3. Now breathe in and out slowly and regularly at whatever rate is comfortable for you. You may wish to try abdominal breathing. If you do not know how to do abdominal breathing ask your nurse for help.
  4. To help you focus on your breathing and breathing slowly and rhythmically: Breathe out as you say silently to yourself, "in, two, three." Breathe out as you say to yourself silently, "out, two, three."... or ... Each time you breathe out, say silently to yourself a word such as "peace" or "relax".
  5. You may imagine that you are doing this in a place that is very calming and relaxing for you.
  6. Repeat above steps as necessary.
  7. End with a slow deep breath. As you breathe out say to yourself, "I feel alert and relaxed."

    Additional points: If you intend to do this for more than a few seconds, try to get in a comfortable position in a quiet place. You may close your eyes or focus on an object. This breathing exercise may be used for only a few seconds or up to 20 minutes.
* From: McCaggery, M. And Beebe. A. (1989). Pain: Clinical manual for nursing practice, St. Louis: C.V. Mosby Company

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pain Treatment Methods

This information is provided to help you discuss your options with your doctors and nurses. Sometimes it is best to combine two or more of these treatments or change the treatments slightly to meet your individual needs. Your doctors and nurses will discuss this with you.

Methods Used To Give Pain Relief Medicines

Tablet or Liquid

Medicines given by mouth (for example, aspirin, ibuprofen, or opioid medications such as codeine).

Advantages: Tablets and liquids cause less discomfort than injections and can work just as well. They are inexpensive, simple to give, and easy to use at home.

Disadvantages: These medicines cannot be used if nothing can be taken by mouth or if you are nauseated or vomiting, sometimes these medicines can be given rectally (suppository form). There may be a delay in pain relief, since these medicines take time to be absorbed.

Injections into Skin and Muscles

Advantages: Medicine given by injection into skin or muscle is effective even if you are nauseated or vomiting.

Disadvantages: The injection site is occasionally painful for a short time.

Injections into Vein

Pain relief medicines are injected into a vein through a small tube, called an intravenous (IV) catheter. The tip of the tube stays in the vein.

Advantages: Medicines given by injection into a vein are fully absorbed and act quickly. This method is well suited for relief of brief episodes of pain. When a patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pump is used, you can control your doses of pain medicine.

Disadvantages: IV site can become irritated.

Injections into Spine

Medicine is given through a small tube in your back (called an epidural or intrathecal catheter).

Advantages: This method works well when you have abdominal surgery or an operation on the lower parts of your body.

Disadvantages: Activity may be limited by use of this method.

Non-Drug Pain Relief Methods

These methods can be effective for mild to moderate pain and to boost the pain relief effects of drugs. There are no side effects. These techniques are best learned before surgery.

Patient Teaching

Learning about the operation and the pain expected afterwards (for example: when coughing or getting out of bed or a chair).

Advantages: These techniques can reduce anxiety; they are simple to learn, and no equipment is needed.

Disadvantages: There are no risks; however, patient attention and cooperation with staff are required.


Simple techniques, such as abdominal breathing and jaw relaxation, can help to increase your comfort after surgery.

Advantages: Relaxation techniques are easy to learn, and they can help to reduce anxiety. After instruction, you can use relaxation at any time. No equipment is needed.

Disadvantages: There are no risks, but you will need instruction from your nurse or doctor.

For more information about Outpatient Surgery, please call 607-798-5321.

LOURDES Hospital | 169 Riverside Drive • Binghamton, NY 13905 | Phone: 607-798-5111 / Directory | Email: