Key Messages to Patients with Pain Regarding Medications

Message Regarding Medications

  1. The pain team uses many methods to help control your pain. Medications may or may not be the best method for your pain condition.
  2. Medications alone typically are not able to totally relieve your pain. Based upon the type of pain you have, we may use medications other than opioids (narcotics) to help control your pain.
  3. In order for the pain team to obtain the most effective pain control of your condition, it is important that you help us monitor your level of comfort, sleep, exercise and activities by keeping a daily diary. Bring this diary with you to each doctor’s appointment.
  4. Many of the medications we use to help control your pain take several weeks to work. You must continue taking the medications as directed in order for the pain team to know if this medication will work for you. Also, report any bothersome side effects to your doctor.
  5. If it is decided that the use of an opioid (narcotic) is the best choice for your pain condition, it is important that you follow all directions exactly. having to take opioids (narcotics) for pain does not mean that you automatically will become an ‘addict.’
  6. Medications more commonly used to treat depression or seizures can be effective in certain pain conditions, Using one of these medications for your pain condition does not mean that we think you are depressed or that the pain is only in your mind.
  7. Because pain conditions change over periods of time, we may need to change medications, increase the dose of your current medication amount, and/or attempt to decrease the amount of pain medications you are taking.
  8. The right dose of a pain medication is the lowest dose that works.
  9. Constipation is one of the most frequent side effects of pain medications, The pain of constipation can sometimes be worse than the pan we are treating with the medications. It is important that you take stool softeners and mild laxatives prescribed by your physician. The goal is to have one bowel movement every day or every other day.
  10. Taking medications other than those prescribed by your physician can cause serious side effects. Let the pain team know of all medications you are taking (including those medications you buy over-the-counter).
  11. Anxiety can be caused by pain as well as cause more pain. However, it is best not to use medications to control anxiety.
  12. Taking too much over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Alleve) can be harmful to your kidney and liver. Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you plan on using any of these medications.

It’s important to know that taking medication is only one part of chronic pain management strategy and you always should engage in physical activities.

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