Each kind of pain requires different treatment. This is because pain is complex. It may be minor or may be serious, acute or chronic. There are pain that normally goes away on its own after a few days of rest, and there are those that require immediate medical attention. For this reason, it is important to know where the pain is felt, how severe the pain is, and how long has it lasted.
There are various pain medications and treatments available. The right treatment depends on the cause of the pain, the associated symptoms, and the underlying medical condition, if any. Get to know the common pain medications, the conditions and symptoms they treat, and their pros and cons here.
Common Treatment Techniques and Medication
There are various types of pain, which calls for different kinds of medications. Pain management solutions include medication, therapy and other treatment techniques. The common medications to treat pain include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription meds, topical pain treatment, and injections.
Over-the-Counter (OCT) Pain Relievers
The over-the-counter medications include acetaminophen (Tyenol) and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen and ibruprofen.
Both pain relievers are helpful in reducing fever, stiffness and muscle aches as well. However, only NSAIDs reduce irritation, swelling and inflammation associated with the pain. Acetaminophen works by altering the pain messages received by the brain. NSAIDs, on the other hand, work by reducing the production of prostaglandins that cause pain.
There are also over-the-counter topical pain relievers available. They come in the form of creams, sprays or lotions. However, they only provide relief for a short period of time after applying.
- Prescription Pain Relievers
Prescription pain relievers are stronger than over-the-counter drugs. They include corticosteroids, opioids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and NSAIDs.
Corticosteroids provide pain relief and treat related symptoms like inflammation, swelling, itching, redness, as well as allergic reactions. They come in the form of pills and injections. They are often used to target certain joints to treat the pain and other symptoms.
There are also narcotic pain medications. The most common form are opioids. They may contain natural, semi-synthetic or synthetic opiates. Opioid pain medication is effective in treating severe pain. However, they must only be used for a short term especially when used to treat chronic pain. Frequent and too much dosage can pose harmful effects to the health and may even result to addiction.
Antidepressants are also used as pain medications. They work by adjusting the natural chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, treating pain and emotional conditions. By adjusting the levels of neurotransmitters, the well-being and relaxation signals are increased, which enable the body to provide pain relief. Low-dose antidepressants can help treat chronic pain, migraine, headaches and menstrual pains
- Anticonvulsants are medications for seizure disorders. However, they also show potential in providing pain relief. They work by minimizing nerve pain and the effects of the nerves in causing pain. However, taking anticonvulsants must not be long term and it must always upon the advice of a health professional.
Another option for treating pain is trigger point injection (TPI). This injection is commonly used to treat pain caused by knots of the muscle and inability of the muscle to relax. Such knotting may also irritate the nearby nerves and cause what is known as referred pain.
There are various types of pain, which calls for different treatment option. Each treatment targets particular pain and associated symptoms, depending on how such treatment works and what is it really for. For instance, pain relievers are used to treat acute pain temporarily such as headache, back pain and neck pain. Aside from pain, they also reduce swelling and fever.
Prescription medications are stronger. They are effective in treating severe and chronic pain. They treat inflammation, itching, redness and allergies as well. Anticonvulsants are used to treat nerve pain and other chronic pain. They also treat seizure disorders.
Depending on the pain medication used, the kinds of pain that may be treated include the following: back pain, neck pain, leg and arm pain, cancer pain, headaches, myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, muscle pain and other pain conditions.
Pros and Cons
Pain medications are not for all. It is important that you know if you are allergic to a certain medication. It is also vital that you know the risks and side effects of a particular medication before taking it. To be safe, take the medication according to the prescribed dosage and always upon the advice of your health professional,
Over-the-counter pain medications like NSAIDs must only be taken as a short term treatment. Certain NSAIDs may increase one’s risk of stroke, stomach ulcers and heart attack. Too much of this drug may also lead to kidney problems.
Stronger prescription medications must not be taken lightly. Taking these medications at heavy dosage and for long periods of time may cause serious side effects such as weight gain, headache, mood changes, sleep problem, upset stomach, thinning of the bones, and weakened immune system. This is especially true to corticosteroids.
Opioids are effective in treating chronic pain. However, they must not be abused as they can cause addiction. Possible side effects of opioids also include drowsiness, nausea, constipation, itching, and breathing problems.
Antidepressants are generally used to treat emotional and psychological problems. However, they also provide pain relief for certain conditions. The good thing about antidepressants is that they do not pose long-term and serious side effects compared to other pain medications. However, in rare cases, the following side effects may be experienced; blurry vision, constipation, difficulty urinating, dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, and headache.
Anticonvulsants are not traditionally used for pain. However, they provide pain relief, particularly in nerve pain. While they are well tolerated, they may also cause side effects in rare cases, such as drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
Pain medications are generally not used as a long term treatment. If symptoms persist or if pain keeps on recurring, it is best that you get proper diagnosis or treatment from pain management specialists. Those who specialize in pain management are more knowledgeable in treating various pain conditions. They also provide advanced pain management solutions on top of conventional ones.
Why You Should Reach Out to AZ Pain and Spine
AZ Pain and Spine Institute is the place to go if you want effective pain management solutions. As pain specialists, we go beyond the usual pain medications and therapy. We properly diagnose our patients and treat them accordingly. This is made possible by our state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology, not to mention our team of experienced and highly qualified specialists.
Make an appointment with us today to get started with your journey to a pain-free living.