The treatments intended for chronic pain are considered diverse as its causes. There are various approaches in treating pain like over the counter and prescription medications, therapies and psychological techniques and alternative medicines. However, when chronic pain is considered, there is no single treatment that guarantees to produce complete pain relief. Chronic pain relief may only be achieved using a combination of different treatment approaches.
Over the Counter Pain Medications
If you are feeling mild to moderate pain, relief may be achieved using over the counter medications like acetaminophen and NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Both types of medication can relieve pain associated with muscle stiffness and aches. Moreover, NSAIDs reduce muscle swelling and irritation. These types of medications may come in oral and topical forms like creams, sprays and lotions. The topical medications may be applied to the affected area to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
If over the counter medications do not provide you with the relief that you seek, your health care provider may prescribe a stronger pain medication like muscle relaxants, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, prescription NSAIDs and short course pain killers.
Prescription Pain Relievers
There are different kinds of prescription pain medications. These medications include opioids, corticosteroids, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.
Prescription corticosteroids offer relief for pain associated with inflammation, redness, and allergic reactions and itching. This medication may be used to treat asthma, allergies and arthritis. When this medication is indicated to control pain, these are generally given in pill or injection forms. Examples of this type of prescription pain medication include prednisone, methylprednisolone, and prednisolone. This type of pain medications are considered strong and they often have serious side effects like weight gain, stomach upset, mood changes, headache, sleeping problems, thinning of the bones and weakened immune system. To minimize the potential side effects, this type of pain medication is prescribed in the lowest possible dose for short term use to relieve pain.
Opioids as Pain Medications
Opioids are narcotic pain medications that is formulated with natural, synthetic or semi synthetic opiates. This type of pain medication is often prescribed for acute pain like short term pain management right after surgery. Morphine, codeine uk, oxycodone, and fentanyl are examples of opioids. This medication is effective when used for severe pain. Addiction to opioids is rare with short term use. There are several side effects associated with this pain medication. These side effects include nausea, drowsiness, itching, constipation, breathing problems and addiction.
Antidepressant medications treat pain as well as emotional condition through adjusting the levels of the neurotransmitters in the brain. This type of medications can increase the availability of the body’s indicators for well being and relaxation, enabling pain management and control for those people who are suffering from chronic pain. This type of medication is often prescribed for those pain conditions that do not respond to the typical treatments for pain.
Chronic pain conditions that are treated with low dose antidepressant medications often include symptoms of headache, migraine and menstrual pain. Example of antidepressant medications used as pain treatment include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs like fluoxetine, tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline, and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or SNRIs like duloxetine.
Generally, these medications are associated with fewer long term side effects compared to other pain medications. The side effects of this type of medication include blurry vision, difficulty urinating, constipation, dry mouth, fatigue, headache and nausea.
Anticonvulsants may also be used as pain medications. However, this type of medication is typically prescribed for seizure disorders. While the exact way in which these medications manage and control pain is not established, these medications show efficacy in treating pain. However, it is believed that these medications minimize the effects of the nerves that are responsible for the painful sensation a person feels. Examples of anticonvulsant medications include gabapentin, pregabalin, and carbamazepine. While anticonvulsants are well tolerated, there are reported side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, nausea and fatigue.
Other Pain Management Options
PCA or patient controlled analgesia is another method used to control pain among those who are diagnosed with chronic pain. This method involves pushing a button of a computerized pump. With every push of this button, the patient will be able to administer a specified dose of the pain medication at will. This pump is connected to a smaller tube which allows the medication to be injected into the patient’s vein, skin or into the spinal area. This method is commonly seen in hospitals and used to treat pain among those who have been suffering for a long time.
Nerve block is another pain treatment that involves blocking a group of nerves in specific areas of the body using local medication. The pain medication is injected into certain areas of the body to block pain sensation and achieve pain relief. While there are different kinds of nerve block, this pain treatment cannot always be utilized. In some cases, nerve block is not possible to use or perhaps too dangerous. Your health care provider can advise whether or not this treatment is the best option for you.