Managing pain with and without medications
Patients with pain should receive treatment that provides the greatest benefit. There are different options available to manage pain. Options may include prescription pain medication, over the counter (OTC) pain medications, and other non-medication treatment strategies such as physical therapy.
Before prescribing opioids for you, your doctor may recommend other pain treatment options such as physical therapy or techniques to lower stress. Effective approaches to chronic pain should use alternative approaches as much as possible. Some of these options may actually work better and have fewer risks and side effects.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Physical therapy and exercise
- Heat or cold applications
- Meditation/relaxation techniques
- Interventional therapies (injections)
There are many self-management strategies that will help you with pain management. Take a look at the pain management strategy wheel to read more about the different strategies.
There are different types of medications that may be used to manage pain. They include, but are not limited to, non-opioid medications such as anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants, topical pain relievers, certain antidepressants, and a group of medications called opioids. Opioids are medications that relieve pain by reducing the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain. They are medications that include an opium- like compound such as morphine or oxycontin. Opioid medications such as oxycontin, fentanyl are generally not the first choice of therapy for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment and end-of-life-care.