In the United States, chronic pain affects more than 25 million adults. That’s a lot of people dealing with pain on a daily basis. While there are many different types of pain, there are also many different ways to treat it. One of those ways is through pain medicine, says the Board Licensed Pain Physician, Dr Brian Blick. But what is pain medicine, and how does it work? Read on to find out.
Pain medicine is a type of medication used to relieve pain. It can be taken orally (by mouth), intravenously (through the veins), or topically (applied to the skin). There are many different types of pain medicines, including over-the-counter (OTC) options and prescription medications. Some common examples of pain medicines include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin.
Pain medicine works by changing the way the brain perceives pain signals. When you take pain medicine, it enters your bloodstream and travels to your brain. There, it attaches to receptors and blocks pain signals from being sent to your brain. This results in you feeling less pain.
There are two main types of pain medicines: opioids and non-opioids.
- Opioids are stronger medications that are usually only prescribed for short-term use due to the risk of addiction and other side effects.
- Non-opioids are less strong but have fewer side effects and can be used for long-term relief.
It’s important to follow the directions on your prescription label when taking any type of medication, including pain medicine. When taking an oral medication, be sure to take it with food or water as directed.
- For topical medication, apply it as directed to the affected areas.
- Avoid applying heat or cold to the area until after you’ve applied the medication as directed.
- If you’re unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist.
The best time to take your medication will depend on what type it is and what your doctor has recommended. For example, while certain painkillers must be taken on an empty stomach, others can be consumed along with food or water. If you have any questions about when or how often to take your medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist before starting it.
There are a few things you can do to get the most out of your pain medication:
- Stick to Your Schedule: It’s important to take your medication on a regular schedule as prescribed by your doctor in order for it to be efficacious.
- Don’t Miss Doses: Try setting the alarm on your phone or another type of reminder so that you never forget to take your next dose.
- Use With Caution: If you’re planning to drink alcohol or certain herbal supplements, talk with your doctor to avoid any adverse reactions. These could include drowsiness or dizziness.
Living with chronic pain can be difficult, but there are treatments available that can help lessen your symptoms so you can live a more normal life. One such treatment is through the use of pain medicine. Now that you know a little more about what pain medicine truly is and how it works, perhaps it will be something that you will bring up with your doctor at your next appointment.