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Pain Medications

Pain Medications


Pain Medications

Pain medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription-strength, can aid in the management of chronic and various types of pain. Because these are potent medications, it’s critical to utilise them with caution. Start with the safest medications at the lowest effective dose for the shortest time possible and work your way up as needed.

Be aware of any potential adverse effects as well as interactions with other medications and supplements you may be taking. Also, always follow the label guidelines or your doctor’s prescription.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

The following are examples of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers:

  • Paracetamol is a pain reliever
  • Ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac gel are examples of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs).

Paracetamol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) both lower temperature and relieve discomfort from muscle aches and stiffness, but only NSAIDs can also reduce inflammation, swelling, heat, and redness related to an injury, and irritation). Paracetamol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) function in distinct ways. NSAIDs work by lowering the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like chemicals that induce inflammation and pain. Paracetamol affects the areas of the brain that receive “pain signals.” NSAIDs are also available in prescription strength, which your doctor can prescribe.

Regular use of NSAIDs, especially at high doses, raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as ulcers and bleeding in the stomach. They can also harm the kidneys. Taking paracetamol in excessive dosages on a regular basis might cause liver damage. Taking a huge amount of medication all at once, whether on purpose or by mistake, is a medical emergency.

Without a doctor’s prescription, topical pain medications are also accessible. Creams, lotions, and sprays that are applied to the skin to reduce pain from aching muscles and arthritis are examples of these goods. Hemp joint & muscle active gel, deep heat, capsaicin cream, diclofenac gel, and ice and heat therapies are some examples of topical pain treatments.

Prescription Pain Medications

The following are examples of pain-relieving prescription medications:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Opioids
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants (anti-seizure medications)
  • NSAIDs
  • Patches containing lidocaine

What Are Corticosteroids?

Prescription corticosteroids relieve swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions in inflamed parts of the body. Allergies, asthma, and arthritis can all be treated with corticosteroids. They are usually provided in the form of pills or injections that target a specific joint when used to control pain. Methylprednisolone, prednisolone, and prednisone are among the examples.

Corticosteroids prescribed by a doctor are powerful drugs that can have major side effects, including:

  • Salt retention and weight gain
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Mood swings
  • Sleeping problems
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Bone thinning and skin thinning
  • Sugar levels that are too high

To reduce the risk of adverse effects, corticosteroids are recommended at the lowest dose possible for as little time as is necessary to relieve pain. Another option for reducing these adverse effects is to inject the steroid directly into the problem location.

What Are Opioids?

Natural, synthetic, or semi-synthetic opiates are found in narcotic pain treatments. Opioids are frequently used for acute pain, such as post-surgery discomfort. The following are some examples of opioids:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone-paracetamol
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxycodone-paracetamol

Opioids, unlike certain other types of pain medication, are helpful for severe pain and do not induce bleeding in the stomach or other regions of the body. They can, however, be highly addictive, thus doctors will look for alternatives to prescribing them. When opioids are used to manage pain for a short length of time, it is uncommon for people to become addicted to them. However, if taken to manage chronic pain, there is a genuine and very severe risk of addiction.

Opioid side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Breathing problems
  • Addiction

What Are Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are medications that work by altering the number of neurotransmitters (natural chemicals) in the brain to treat pain and emotional disorders. These drugs can boost the availability of the body’s well-being and relaxation signals, allowing pain control for some patients with chronic pain disorders who don’t react well to standard treatments. According to research, certain antidepressants (tricyclics) are the most effective for neuropathic or nerve pain.

Low-dose antidepressants are used to treat chronic pain problems such as headaches (such as migraines) and menstruation pain. The following are examples of antidepressant medications:

  • SSRIs such as citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Sertraline) are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (Zoloft)
  • Amitriptyline, desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Silenor), imipramine (Tofranil), and nortriptyline are tricyclic antidepressants (Pamelor)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine are SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) (Effexor)

To work, many medications require a continuous amount of medicine to build up in the body over time. Pain-relieving doses are frequently lower than those required to alleviate depression.

Tricyclic antidepressants have more side effects than SSRIs and SNRIs. The following are the most prevalent antidepressant adverse effects:

  • Blurry vision
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Sexual dysfunction

What Are Anticonvulsants?

Anticonvulsants are medications that are commonly used to treat seizures. Some of these drugs are also beneficial in the treatment of pain. The specific mechanism by which these medications decrease pain is unknown, however, it is suspected that they reduce the actions of pain-sensing nerves. Carbamazepine (Tegretol), gabapentin (Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica), and topiramate are among examples (Topamax).

Anticonvulsants are generally well tolerated. The following are the most common side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

Other Pain Treatments

A lidocaine (Lidoderm) patch, which is a prescription drug, is another option for topical pain management.

Muscle relaxants function by lowering the central nervous system, reducing muscle tension and spasms while also generating drowsiness. They can be helpful for acute back and nerve pain flare-ups when used for a short period of time. They can also aid with fibromyalgia muscular discomfort at night.

If the standard therapies fail to relieve your pain, your doctor may recommend you to a pain management specialist. Other therapies, such as some types of physical therapy or other types of drugs, maybe tried by doctors who specialise in pain management. They may also suggest TENS, a pain-relieving therapy that employs patches on the skin to convey signals to the brain.

Surgery to wholly or partially implant a tiny device similar to a pacemaker in the epidural space near the portion of the spine thought to be the cause of the pain is known as spinal cord stimulation (SCS). It uses leads to giving modest electric pulses to your brain to assist disguise and disrupting pain signals.