How to handle pain therapy on board commercial ships


Pain therapy principles on commercial ships involve a combination of

strategies aimed at managing and alleviating pain experienced by

individuals while on board. The unique environment and challenges of

being at sea require special considerations in pain management. Here

are some principles that should be followed:

1. Assessment: Thorough assessment of the individual’s pain is crucial.

This includes evaluating the location, intensity, quality, and duration of

the pain. Additionally, identifying any underlying medical conditions or

injuries that may cause or contribute to the pain is essential.

2. Multimodal Approach: Employing a multimodal approach to pain

management involves using a combination of techniques and

interventions to address pain from different angles. This may include

medications, physical therapies, psychological interventions, and

alternative treatments.

3. Medications: Pain-relieving medications may be used to manage

different types and severities of pain. Non-prescription analgesics, such

as acetaminophen, diclofenac, or ibuprofen, can be provided for mild to

moderate pain and should be the first step. For more severe pain,

stronger prescription medications like opioids or tramadol may be

necessary and should not be avoided. The use of opioids should be

initiated after consulting a remote medical consultant only, and careful

monitoring is required due to their potential for addiction and side


4. Physical Therapies: Physical therapies play a vital role in pain

management. These may include physical exercises, heat or cold

therapy, and various forms of positioning (e.g., during sleep). These

techniques help relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, reduce

inflammation, and promote relaxation.

5. Psychological Interventions: This should be mentioned here for

completeness as it is well-known that even mental conditions have an

impact on pain and its individual consideration, toleration, and


6. Alternative Treatments: Depending on availability and individual

preferences, complementary and alternative therapies may be used.

These can include acupuncture, herbal remedies, aromatherapy, or

relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga. While the evidence for

some of these treatments is limited, they may provide additional pain

relief and improve overall well-being.

7. Education and Support: Providing education and support to individuals

experiencing pain is crucial. This involves explaining the nature of their

pain, discussing treatment options, setting realistic expectations, and

encouraging self-management techniques.

8. Safety Considerations: Pain therapy on commercial ships should

prioritize safety. This includes considering potential interactions between

medications, monitoring for side effects, and ensuring that the individual

is fit to perform their duties while managing pain. Adequate rest periods

and modifications to work duties may be necessary to prevent the

exacerbation of pain.

It’s important to note that pain management should always be

supervised by qualified medical professionals who can tailor the

treatment to individual needs and ensure the safety and well-being of

crew members on commercial ships. If you want to learn more about how

we handle this – get in contact with us at:

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