Pain Management

We all have experienced pain. It’s basically a signal in our nervous system telling us that something is wrong. Whether severe or dull, any kind of pain is unpleasant. No matter how much unpleasant, it can be helpful in diagnosing what is wrong. As you grow older, the occurrence of pain tends to increase, and women are more prone than men to experience it. Although every pain isn’t curable, and its treatment depends on the cause, there are ways to manage it. Taking pain killers is one option, but if you are not too fond to seek this option, there are non-drug options available too, such as acupuncture, physical therapy, etc.

Types Of Pain

Pain is generally of two types:

Acute Pain: This appear suddenly, such as in response to an injury, disease, or some other medical condition. It is short-lived and goes away quickly. It is also easier to find out the cause of acute pain.

Chronic Pain: This is a prolonged pain that stretches for a long time. This kind of pain can be both physically and mentally challenging for the patient.


How To Manage Pain?

A person’s mental state plays a huge role in determining how he/she manages pain. However, there are coping techniques available that might help:

  • Pain killers
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture

These are some of the many pain management techniques. Other than these, there are relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and cognitive behavioural therapy that help to cope with pain better.

What Are The Ways To Manage Pain Without Taking Pain Killer?

There are some non-pain medicine treatments available that can help you cope with the pain:

  • Hot & Cold Therapy: You can use heat therapy for muscle and joint pain. Cold therapy, such as an ice pack, can be used right after an injury to prevent swelling.
  • Physical Therapy: Sometimes exercising a little bit can help you to cope with the pain. Physical activities such as walking, stretching work best. However, make sure you start small and not overdo to not aggravate the situation.
  • Massage: For mild aches and pains, massage can be a good option.
  • Relaxation Techniques: When you are in pain, it becomes all the more crucial to take care of your mental health. This is because you are fit mentally, you can still be able to cope with the pain. However, if your mental health is affected, it can make even a mild pain feel unbearable. Some relaxation techniques that might help include Yoga and meditation.
  • Acupuncture: China’s traditional healing therapy, acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin. The aim of acupuncture is to naturally release pain-relieving chemicals known as endorphins. Although some believe that this technique actually helps in managing pain, it hasn’t been scientifically proven.

What Are Some Medicines Used To Treat Pain?

Almost everyone takes a pain-reliever medicine at some point in life. Here are some common pain medicines:

Paracetamol: This is generally given to relieve acute pain.

Aspirin: This is not only given to relieve mild to moderate pain, but to bring down a fever.

NSAIDs: This is short for the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. These not only relieve pain, but also reduce inflammation. An example is ibuprofen.

Opioids: These are reserved for severe pain and cancer. Morphine, codeine and oxycodone are some of the opioid medicines.

Other than these, there are some antidepressants and anti-epilepsy medicines, which are used to relieve nerve pain. 

Regarding how these medicines work, there is no singular way that pain medicines work. Aspirin and NSAIDS, which are both anti-inflammatory and pain-relievers, reduce inflammation, and pain. Opioid, on the other hand, leads to a change in the way the brain receives that pain. This is the reason why some people get addicted to opioids. 

Although pain medicines are widely available, you must consult your doctor before taking them. If your doctor recommends these, you should be regular with the drugs. However, along with taking the medicine, you can develop some strategies that can help you to feel better. Such as staying active, avoiding triggers that are causing you pain, and getting involved in other coping techniques such as going for a massage, meditating or acupuncture.

Pain Medicine Side Effects

Although these drugs quickly relieve the pain and provide you instant relief, however, these are not devoid of any side-effects. Here are some of the possible side effects of taking the pain medicines:

  • Paracetamol: These do not cause any side effects if taken as per the prescribed dose and for a short time. However, if taken for long and more than the dose recommended, it can lead to skin rashes and even liver damage.
  • Aspirin: Some of the possible side effects of taking aspirin include indigestion, vomiting and nausea. It can also lead to some serious side effects, such as kidney damage, asthma attack etc.
  • NSAIDs: Drugs such as ibuprofen can cause headache, nausea, tiredness, dizziness, upset stomach, skin rash, increased blood pressure, etc. The more serious side effects include heart attack and bleeding.
  • Opioid: These can be addictive and their side effects include dizziness, confusion, sleepiness, constipation and vomiting. They can also result in a lack of coordination, concentration and balance. You must be extremely cautious while taking these as they can slow down breathing and an overdose can be fatal.

Things To Remember While Taking Pain Medication

As you saw pain medications have several side effects associated with them. There are other things also that you must keep in mind:

  • Although it is better to seek an expert’s advice before taking medicines, if you are taking an over-the-counter drug, do it with caution. Do not overmedicate yourself and it is beneficial to see a doctor to understand the underlying cause of the pain.
  • Taking an over-the-counter drug is not a good option if you have an underlying health issue such as heart disease or diabetes. Always seek a doctor’s advice in case of any pain. 
  • When pregnant, do not self-medicate. Always seek a doctor’s advice. This is because when the pain killer mixes in your bloodstream, some of it might reach the baby through the placenta and might cause certain complications.
  • Pain medicines tend to have serious side effects on the elderly. Hence, always be cautious if you are an elderly or taking care of one.
  • As you know opioid pain relievers are extremely addictive and dangerous, as an overdose of these can be fatal. Hence, never ever over-medicate yourself, and in case you do that mistakenly, consult a doctor as quickly as you can. 

Other than these, always consult your doctor to understand the underlying reason for your pain. The cause might help you with the cure. Avoid pain triggers and develop that mental strength to cope up with the pain. You can also talk to the pharmacist to understand the medication better. Chances are he/she might be able to help you with a drug option with fever side effects.