What Are A Patient’s Choices For Pain Management?

Pain management is something every patient needs to know about.  Most pain can be alleviated with over-the-counter products or prescription medications. Chronic pain, however, often persists despite medication. To cope with this, you’ll need to make life-style changes.

Over-the-counter products

If you have mild fever or pain, then you’ll opt for painkillers that you can buy in a store over the counter. Here are the most common products:

  • Aspirin is the oldest and best-known pain killer. It’s a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). Doctors often recommend aspirin for people who are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, because it can prevent blood clots. Watch out if you’re taking it for a long time. Asprin, like all NSAIDs, can cause problems from simple indigestion to stomach ulcers. Taking a lot of NSAIDs may cause kidney damage.
  • Acetaminophen You’ll find acetaminophen in many cold and sinus medicines. Don’t take too much or drink alcohol while taking it, as it can cause liver damage.
  • Ibuprofen Ibuprofen, a more recent NSAID, can also cause stomach or kidney problems. (Like other NSAIDs). But since it acts quickly and leaves the body faster than aspirin, there’s less chance of side effects.

Prescription painkillers

These are often opioids. They block the nerve signals that transmit feelings of pain to your brain, bringing feelings of pleasure. If you’ve had recent surgery, a painful injury, or are living with chronic pain, your doctor may prescribe them.

Common opioid painkillers include : codeine, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Demerol and morphine. Fentanyl is another opioid painkiller that is 100 times more powerful than other opioids.

Side effects of opioids include constipation, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. Watch out because over time, your body will need more of the drug to get the same effect. Only a small percentage of people who are prescribed opioids become addicted, but there is a chance, so watch out that you don’t keep taking the drugs when you don’t need them.

4 life-style changes for chronic pain

  • Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that helps your body relax. When your body relaxes, you may find that the pain eases up. Find a quiet spot and sit in a relaxed position. Fill your abdomen with air and then let it out slowly. Feel the tension and tightness seeping out of your muscles.
  • Reduce your stress levels. Negative feelings like depression, anxiety, stress, and anger can increase the body’s sensitivity to pain. By learning to take control of stress, you may find some relief from chronic pain. Try calming music, guided imagery or massage.
  • Exercise. This a double win. Exercise strengthens muscles, helps keep your weight down, reduces heart disease risk, and controls blood sugar levels. It also increases endorphins. These are brain chemicals that help improve your mood and also blocking pain signals.
  • Distract yourself from pain. When you focus on pain, it makes it worse rather than better. Try to find something you like doing to keep yourself busy and stop you thinking about the pain. Try going to work. Research shows that people become less active and more depressed when they don’t work. If you aren’t up to working, then find a hobby that can distract you from the pain.

 

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