Pain managment and analgesia

First Aid

20 minutes of cool running water, effective within 3 hours after sustaining a burn injury.

Find out more about First Aid ​​​​​

Pain management and analgesia

Managing pain during wound dressing is essential to ensure the procedure is made as comfortable for the patient as possible. In order to prepare the wound the patients’ pain must be considered.

There are two considerations for pain management with minor burns

  • Background pain i.e. pain at rest
  • Breakthrough i.e. Pain that is suddenly exacerbated, usually related to an activity or movement 
  • Procedural pain i.e. pain experienced during wound dressings or assessment

Oral Procedural pain relief should be administered at least 45 minutes prior to wound dressing or manipulation procedures. Patients can feel pain as a result of their procedure for hours after.

Adult Analgesic Guidelines 

The following provides a recommended short term (<72 hours) oral analgesia guidelines for the management of superficial burn injury.

Mild - pain score 0-3

  • Paracetamol 1f oral 6/24 hrs PRN
  • Naproxen 250p oral TDS (+/- gut protection)

Moderate - pain score 4-7

  • Add: Tapentadol 100-250mg BD
  • Add: IR Opioid 5-10mgs 2-4/24

Severe - pain score 8-10

  • Add: SR opioid & IR opioid (high dose)
  • Add: Pregabalin 75mg BD
  • Consider Admission IV analgesic

General advice:

  • Aim for pain scored of 4 or less at rest
  • Analgesia should be reviewed after 72 hours
  • Use clinical judgement