We’ve all experienced that unpleasant sensation of pain. Pain ranges from mild, localized discomfort to agony. The physical part of pain results from nerve stimulation. It may be contained to a discrete area as an injury, or more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Whether acute or chronic, pain can last more than 6 months.
How Can Pain Be Managed?
Many people do not want to report their pain. They are worried about becoming addicted to pain medication. But a pain specialist can help. Pain specialists identify the causes of pain. They treat acute pain aggressively to prevent the onset of chronic pain using non-invasive treatments as much as possible.
Opioids and Narcotics
Opioids are a type of narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain. They can cause addiction if not used correctly. These drugs bind to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the body. They tell your brain you’re not in pain. Here are some commonly prescribed opiods:
- Codeine (only available in generic form)
- Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Abstral, Onsolis)
- Hydrocodone (Hysingla, Zohydro ER)
- Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
- Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxaydo)
- Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)
- Oxycodone and naloxone
While taking opioid pain medications, check in with your doctor regularly. Say if your pain is responding. Report any side effects. Side effects may include constipation, drowsiness and nausea and vomiting. When you are ready to stop taking opioids, your doctor may wean you off slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Pain can be treated without drugs!
- Tens Unit (Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation)
- Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy
- Heat and Cold Applications
- Rehab and Physical/Occupational Therapies
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Complimentary Medicine (massage, acupuncture, acupressure)
- Exercise Therapy and Lifestyle Changes
Getting Ahead of Pain
After surgery, don’t wait to take your pain medication until your pain becomes severe. Take your pain meds as prescribed. As you feel better, you can extend the time between doses till you are able to quit altogether. If your pain is not too severe, try over-the-counter medication like ibuprophen or acetomenophin for relief.
Common sense steps to help with pain
- Get enough sleep
- Increase physical activity slowly
- Don’t sit too long. Take a stretch break.
- Brace your surgery site when sneezing, coughing or moving around
- Reduce stress using relaxation techniques like deep breathing
- Check with your doctor regularly while taking pain meds.