Patients with chronic pain can choose between drugs that are taken orally and those that are applied to the skin to alleviate their symptoms. For pain relief, non-opioid medications include NSAIDs like ibuprofen and Celebrex, as well as muscle relaxants like cyclobenzaprine and baclofen, and cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors like acetaminophen or paracetamol. Other non-opioid oral medications include meloxicam and aspirin, as well as diclofenac and aspirin.
Also used to alleviate pain, these other drugs are known as opioids. Acute (sudden) pain is well-served by these drugs, but they come with severe side effects, such as breathing difficulties, constipation, and drowsiness. Topical drugs are those that are administered directly to the skin in the form of an ointment, lotion, or patch. Some of these patches operate by releasing the active ingredient, such as lidocaine, deeper into the skin tissue when applied directly on top of the painful location. It’s possible to get some prescriptions over-the-counter (OTC), but you may need a prescription to get others.
The use of injections to treat pain is a prevalent practice in the medical field. Injecting local anesthetics or cortisone into the area around nerves or joints is known as interventional treatment. Epidural injections can be used to treat pain in the epidural space, which is known as epidural steroid injections, or to treat pain in muscles, which is known as trigger point injections.
A patient’s neck or lower back may be targeted for epidural injection depending on whether or not they are experiencing discomfort that radiates to the arms or legs. Nerve-related discomfort, such as complicated regional pain syndrome, may benefit from sympathetic nerve blocks (CRPS).
Pain management solutions that don’t use medication are available, even if some drugs have unpleasant side effects. Non-pharmacologic treatments such as acupuncture, guided meditation, water therapy, massage, and physiotherapy are examples of non-pharmacologic treatments. Therapy with a transcutaneous electro-nerve stimulator (TENS) involves applying pads to sore parts of the skin to stimulate nerves and alleviate the pain.
Side Effects of Chronic Pain medications
Chronic pain can be treated with a wide variety of drugs. The dosage and side effects of these medications can generally be answered by your primary care physician, patient management specialist, or pharmacist. Drugs such as these are among the most frequently prescribed:
1. NSAIDs and acetaminophen
Many NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) can be purchased over the counter (OTC). Acute muscle, bone, and arthritic pain may benefit greatly from the use of NSAIDs. Taking them for long periods of
time or in excessive quantities might harm the kidneys, induce bleeding, and cause stomach ulcers.
An increase in cardiovascular (heart) risks, particularly high blood pressure, may be related to long-term usage of COX II inhibitors. Although acetaminophen is readily available over the counter, it is important to not exceed 3,000 mg in 24 hours in order to avoid liver failure. As acetaminophen is commonly found in opioid drugs, it is crucial to know the maximum daily dose to avoid overdose.
2. Anxiety drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and other sodium channel blockers may be useful in treating nerve-related discomfort. It is possible to treat pain with lower doses of these drugs than it is possible to cure depression. You must take these pills every day, regardless of whether or not you are experiencing discomfort.
Your doctor may prescribe these medications at night in an effort to decrease some of the negative effects, such as tiredness. Other adverse effects, such as dry mouth, can be alleviated by sipping water or other drinks. Certain kinds of glaucoma may prevent these drugs from being prescribed. These medications should not be taken in higher doses than indicated.
3. Anticonvulsant (anti-seizure) medications:
Some types of nerve pain may benefit greatly from the use of these drugs (such as burning, shooting pain). Instead of taking these medications “as needed,” they should be taken as prescribed so that the body can build up a sufficient supply of them. Even if you don’t feel any pain, you should take them every day.
There are a number of negative effects that can be alleviated by taking the medication in smaller doses and gradually increasing them over time. Weight gain and discomfort in the abdomen are two more undesirable side effects. Remember to tell your doctor if you have kidney stones or glaucoma because some anticonvulsants are not indicated for use in these cases. Anticonvulsants given to individuals with kidney illness may not require liver monitoring, but should be used with caution.
4. Muscle relaxants: Muscle spasms are usually treated with these drugs, which have few side effects. Drowsiness and dizziness are the two most common side effects of these drugs.
It is possible that opioids can be useful in the treatment of some types of chronic pain. In cases of nerve pain, they are less effective or necessitate higher dosages. Patients with chronic pain should avoid long-lasting narcotics. Constipation is a common side effect of opioids, which can be alleviated by drinking plenty of fluids, but in certain cases, OTC drugs are required. To avoid opioid-related breathing issues, this drug should never be taken with alcohol or benzodiazepines. If you’re feeling drowsy all the time, make an appointment with your doctor.
Another adverse effect that may be difficult to address is nausea, which may necessitate the use of antinausea drugs or a switch to a different opioid.
The Pain management Specialist at Doral Health And Wellness provides a customized treatment plan for individuals who are suffering from chronic pain in order to get them back to their normal routine as quickly as possible. You can reach us at 347-868-1077.