When my patients say they are having pain, I simply ask them to describe their pain, rate their pain, tell me where the pain is, and does the pain med ordered for them on a prn or scheduled basis cover their pain even intermittently.
After gathering these necessary facts, I note their facial expressions, their vital signs tell a lot about whether they are in pain, their body posture, the look in their eyes, are they clinching their teeth or their fists, are they pale, is their face reddened, are they sweating bullets, is their breathing shallow or rapid, are they grumpy and anxious, restless......and so forth.
It's amazing how much a nurse can assess in such a short amount of time between the patient asking for their pain med and actually giving them their pain med.
The only ones I have trouble with are the known drug abusers who are drug seekers. I feel like I'm supporting their drug habit by medicating them when I'm doubting they are in pain based on my assessment. They know that pain scale of 1 to 10 quite well too. And of course their pain is always a big fat TEN! :chuckle
It is a known fact that women experience pain in different areas of their body than men when experiencing a heart attack or chest pain. Women may feel pain in their back, have indigestion really bad, and feel nauseas. Men may...and often do feel...the pain shooting up one arm and around their upper back and into their chest.
I tell patients anything they may be experiencing that they are not use to feeling is a warning sign to alert a nurse or doctor about.....not to just brush it off as "indigestion" or something minor.
Hope this helps gwenith.