One of the significant components of treating chronic pain issues is to find the right type of pain medication to allow the person to function reasonably well in their daily lives. While some individuals utilize over-the-counter pain medication with good results, others need something stronger to deal with their daily pain. Here we discuss common medications for chronic pain.
Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Over-the-counter medications are used to treat some types of chronic discomfort. NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen Sodium have chemicals which reduce inflammation in the body to help relieve pain. A doctor may recommend taking a suggested amount of either of these store-bought medications to treat a person’s continual pain. Or, the physician may combine an NSAID with a prescription to deal with some types of routine pain like arthritis pain. Patients should disclose to their doctors all medications, herbs, and supplements taken to avoid accidentally taking too much of one type of drug. COX-2 inhibitors, available by prescription only, may also be used to reduce persistent pain.
For people with more extreme levels of continual pain, a physician might prescribe an opioid medication. Opioids, which are also called narcotics, provide a change to the way the brain receives the message that the body is in pain. Some types of opioid pain relievers are:
Anti-Depressants for Pain
Anti-depressants remain frequently used to help individuals who have clinical depression. Anti-depressants work to relieve pain by the way they change chemicals in the body. Three types of anti-depressants exist these days: TCAs (tricyclic anti-depressants), SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), and SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). TCAs, such as amitriptyline hydrochloride and nortriptyline, work by raising the level of chemical messengers in a person’s neurotransmitters. SNRIs such as Effexor and Cymbalta work by changing the way the body absorbs neurotransmitters. SSRIs don’t work that well for people who need pain relief and aren’t usually prescribed for that purpose.
Anti-seizure Medications for Pain Relief
Anti-convulsants, also known as anti-seizure or anti-epileptic medicines, work to slow the nerve signals that send pain messages to the brain. People with diabetic neuropathy or fibromyalgia who take these drugs find their pain levels reduced when taking the pills. Two examples of this type of treatment include taking Lyrica and gabapentin.
Doctors sometimes use corticosteroids for chronic discomfort issues if NSAIDs don’t work well. Steroids work by stopping chemicals in a person’s body from producing inflammation. Taking steroids is used to treat such chronic discomfort issues as rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, and osteoarthritis. Prednisone and decadron are two frequently used examples of steroids used for individuals with constant discomfort.
Muscle relaxants sooth and relax muscles. When the muscles relax, pain due to muscle spasms and other muscle problems gets relieved. While most physicians don’t prescribe muscle relaxants such as Soma and Lioresal for pain, these drugs do help give people with fibromyalgia, and lower back pain, temporary relief from stiff, cramping muscles.
Many drugs absorb well through the skin. Topical analgesics such as a lidocaine patch can soothe a person’s chronic discomfort issues in cases of neuropathy, arthritis and lower back pain. Topical creams such as a capsaicin cream use the heat of chili peppers in cream to reduce pain.
A Chronic Pain Treatment Plan
Every patient needs to be aware of the medications they take and any positive and negative effects each treatment gives. People should work closely with their healthcare team to get the pain relief they need to live a satisfying life.