The following are tips for the caregiver on how to prevent and treat some of the common symptoms of pain associated with HIV or AIDS. Caregivers should look out for certain changes in the condition of the patient and seek professional help when necessary
- Keep the environment quiet and restful. Limit visitors if requested to do so by your family member.
- Offer comfort measures such as massages and back rubs, warm soaks for painful muscles, joints, feet or legs, ice bags for headaches and soothing music of the patient's choice.
- Take pain medicine on a regular basis as prescribed (e.g. every four, six or eight hours) because this can help the patient feel that he/she has control over the pain.
- Keep in mind that some pain medications, such as codeine- and morphine-containing drugs, cause constipation.
- Encourage relaxation exercises and teach deep and regular breathing techniques.
- Keep the environment as calm as possible, talk calmly and in gentle tones to the sick person, avoid bright lights, play soft music, read to the person, apply a cool cloth on the forehead or give a light massage.
Contact the health professional:
If the pain becomes unbearable or if it is associated with new symptoms such as severe headache or weakness; if there is a sudden or recent occurrence of pain in the hands or feet; if there is a persistent headache lasting over two weeks, a severe headache which is getting rapidly worse and which is not relieved by the usual methods of dealing with pain; a headache associated with vomiting or a headache that affects the sick person’s ability to think or move