Pain can result from a variety of causes, including injury, medical conditions, and surgery. Depending on whether it is acute or chronic, it can affect your daily life. Fortunately, it is possible to gain relief from the discomfort by using a variety of pain management techniques. Such methods include medication, physical therapy, and cognitive therapy. Pain management is complex, but with the help of a qualified medical practitioner like Dr. Mahan Ostadian, you can find the best treatment option for you.
Here are the main types of drugs that are used for pain management.
1. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicines
OTC pain relievers are available in two main types: Acetaminophen and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Both of those drugs decrease fever and relieve pain brought on by muscle aches and stiffness. However, NSAIDs can also decrease inflammation.
Acetaminophen targets the brain areas that collect the pain messages. On the other hand, NSAIDs alleviate pain by decreasing the release of prostaglandins (hormone-like elements that bring pain).
However, over-the-counter medicines are not free of side effects. Using NSAIDs incorrectly raises the risk of heart problems, stomach ulcers, bleeding, and kidney impairment.
Other than acetaminophen and NSAIDS, OTC topical pain relievers such as creams, sprays, and lotions can also be applied to the skin to offer relief.
Corticosteroids are issued as prescriptions, and they offer relief for allergic reactions, asthma, and arthritis. For pain management, corticosteroids are generally administered as pills or injections that aim at a particular joint.
Unfortunately, the drugs may come with severe side effects such as weight gain, salt retention, mood swings, peptic ulcer disease, high sugar levels, sleeping problems, and weakened immunity. Therefore, doctors prescribe corticosteroids in very low doses for a short amount of time to combat pain.
Narcotic pain medications in the form of opioids are also used to manage different types of pain. Codeine, morphine, hydrocodone-acetaminophen, oxycodone, and fentanyl are popular examples of opioids.
Opioids work effectively against severe pain and don’t inflict bleeding in the body like some other forms of pain medications. But, they can be overly addictive and physicians will attempt to find alternative treatments. It is not common for patients to get addicted to opioids if the medication is used to combat pain for a short length of time. However, the risk of addiction is high and potentially dangerous for cases of chronic pain treatment.
Apart from addiction, other opioid side effects include drowsiness, constipation, breathing difficulty, constipation, and nausea.
Antidepressants adjust the levels of natural brain chemicals in order to treat pain or emotional problems. They can increase body signaling for well-being, relaxation, and enable pain control for conditions that fail to respond fully to typical treatments. The doses of antidepressants used to combat pain are frequently lower than those used for depression.
Antidepressants do not pose as many side effects as other pain medicines, but blurry vision, trouble urinating, headache, dry mouth, constipation, fatigue, and nausea can occur.
While anticonvulsants are normally used to combat seizure disorders, they can also work efficiently against pain. It is theorized that the drugs control pain by minimizing the impact of nerves that inflict pain. Anticonvulsants are generally well-tolerated by patients, but they can result in side effects like drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue.
Other types of medications that can help with pain management are Gabapentinoids, steroids, and COX-2 inhibitors.