Make the right choice by understanding the risks and benefits of prescription pain medications
Prescription medications – often opioid pain relievers – are some of the most common ways to relieve severe pain. And while they are simple, convenient, and relatively fast-acting, they present risks and often have side effects. The infamously well-known risk is, of course, dependence – but there are other side effects that can sometimes make painkillers less attractive than the pain itself.
Deciding whether or not to take pain medication is a personal choice that should involve input from your doctors and your loved ones, and being informed on the risks and benefits is an essential first step.
Medications can have significant side effects
It’s important that we start this discussion with a look at the side effects and various risk factors associated with pain medications. Prescription painkillers may be intended to ease significant pain and discomfort, but like many medical solutions, there are consequences that should be taken into account.
Among the wide range of prescription pain medications, each can have its own list of side effects, but common issues include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, or confusion. Some may even cause headaches (an ironic side effect for a pain reliever), skin rashes, or constipation.
When are prescription medications right for relieving pain?
At Pines Spine & Joint, we strongly believe in attempting to solve the root cause of the problem. In most cases, this is not something that prescription medications, which simply block the feeling of pain, can do. However, there are some cases when pain killers are the right choice.
If the pain is severe, then you may want to consider a temporary prescription. By taking medications as they are intended, you allow yourself to relieve acute pain in a safe and comfortable manner. The longevity of pain is also an issue. If it has been persistent for weeks or months at a time, then it may be time to talk with your doctor about a prescription.
When should someone avoid prescription medications
There are also many situations when narcotic pain medication should be avoided, factors that can be identified by your doctor when you meet to discuss your pain.
First of all, if your family has a history of substance abuse or you have any reason to worry about addiction in general, you should attempt to avoid prescription narcotics. Many individuals find themselves dependent upon these pain killers, even when the prescription was meant for short-term relief. Addiction is a serious issue that can catastrophically affect individuals and their families, so always use medications strictly as they are prescribed and intended.
You will also want to avoid prescription pain medications if the pain is minor and has not been with you for very long. In this case, milder over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol or aspirin may be appropriate.
It’s also important to be fully informed about any allergies you may have and relay this information to your doctor, as he or she will take this into account when prescribing medication. It’s possible to have allergic reactions to prescription pain medications.
Find pain relief for the source
If you would like to avoid using prescription pain medications or find a long term solution that may help you alleviate discomfort without them, let us help. Our interventional pain management specialists assess the source and severity of your pain using technologically advanced equipment, and then devise a customized program to address it. This may include a combination of targeted, non-narcotic medications, nerve blocks, and physical therapy. We attempt to deliver relief by addressing the root cause of your pain.
Contact us at 954-589-2319 (East Pines office), 954-430-8000 (West Pines office), or through our online form to make an appointment today. At Pines Spine & Joint, we strive to cure your pain, not mask it. Let us put this commitment to work for you.