Are PAIN AND DISCOMFORT THE SAME?

  1. 0
    Are pain and discomfort the same? I am interested to see wht you guys think, I can't find any real definition for discomfort as it pertains to nursing. I know pain is what our sensory neurons tell out brain. Whats the difference? Or is there a difference?

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  2. 16 Comments...

  3. 3
    What I find is that patients that are reluctant to say they have pain will say they have discomfort. I think it's just a difference of perception or choice of expressing how they feel. I usually medicate for pain if they express discomfort.Although discomfort can just mean they need to be repositioned. I usually ask some clarifying questions to identify what they mean by discomfort.
    poppycat, nette4866, and Fiona59 like this.
  4. 0
    I think maybe discomfort is probably pain1/10. After all has anyone ever really heard someone describe their pain as a #1? If you sit in a chair in one position too long and get pins & needles, it's uncomfortable and mildly painful. Like a #1.

    To me, it's the same on a lesser degree. So yes, I will give tylenot 2 tabs for general discomfort. Just my $0.03.
  5. 1
    I think maybe discomfort is probably pain1/10. After all has anyone ever really heard someone describe their pain as a #1? If you sit in a chair in one position too long and get pins & needles, it's uncomfortable and mildly painful. Like a #1.

    To me, it's the same on a lesser degree. So yes, I will give tylenot 2 tabs for general discomfort.

    Just my $0.03.
    Last edit by amoLucia on Jan 16 : Reason: oops
    nette4866 likes this.
  6. 5
    I always assumed discomfort included pain but also uncomfortable conditions like itching, heartburn, positioning issues, etc. A patient may simply respond "no" when asked about pain, but may report other symptoms when asked about comfort.
    poppycat, Cobweb, amoLucia, and 2 others like this.
  7. 0
    Do you guys think people use them interchangeably or are they 2 different things? It seems like from what everyone is posting that they are treated pretty much the same. If a patient said I am having some discomfort would you be as aggressive treating it, or if they said I am having pain which one would you treat more aggressively. An assessment would clear it up but I am curious to hear you guys opinion. I wonder why there is no definite definition for discomfort, you can find a ton about pain and it's types.
  8. 1
    Some people do use them interchangeably, but I think they are separate things.
    My prenatal class instructor told us that labor involves some "discomfort" and that there would be a lot of "pressure". I don't think the word "pain" was ever used, now that I think about it.
    nette4866 likes this.
  9. 4
    Funny you should ask this. I just had a minor procedure done to remove a very large cyst and they kept asking me if it was *painful*. I wasn't IN PAIN, but I was UNCOMFORTABLE. It was important for me to distinguish between the two and I can't even tell you why it was.

    I think a lot of it is I see so many people who claim severe pain and want pain meds. I wasn't looking for (or even needing) pain meds, but I wanted to let them know that I wasn't comfortable.

    That might not answer your question, but I personally felt like there was a difference
    poppycat, amoLucia, nette4866, and 1 other like this.
  10. 0
    It seems to be a local thing here. Any pain under 5/10 is "just uncomfortable" for our elderly locals.
  11. 1
    When you first start with labor it is discomfort as labor progresses there is definitely pain, hence the epidural.
    RNperdiem likes this.


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