Everyone experiences acute pain from time to time, but those who suffer from chronic pain know that it can cast a shadow over every part of your life. The persistent nature of chronic pain can make everyday tasks challenging. It can greatly limit physical activity, affect sleep, impact relationships or work performance, and even contribute to mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. Read on to learn how proper medication management for your chronic pain can help you get your life back.

What Is Chronic Pain, and How Is It Treated?

Chronic pain is long-term pain that persists for months or years. It is sometimes a result of a past injury, but it often occurs alongside other chronic conditions, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, and many others. There are several types of pain-relieving medications available, either over-the-counter or as prescribed by a doctor.

These are some common types of medications for treating chronic pain:

  • Acetaminophen
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsant medications
  • Local anesthetics
  • Opioids

Chronic pain sufferers are often impacted both physically and psychologically. Treating only physical pain can contribute to patients possibly becoming drug-dependent or continuing to suffer from symptoms of depression and insomnia, according to John Hopkins Medicine. To address all areas that are affected, a pain management physician may recommend treatment options such as physical therapy, counseling, or interventional procedures in addition to medication management.

Why Safe Medication Management Is Important

Those with chronic pain want as much pain relief as possible and to regain a higher quality of life despite their condition. Pain management doctors want to help their patients find the right combination of medication and therapies that will work for them — and to do so safely. Polypharmacy, or the use of multiple medications at the same time, “can lead to dangerous drug-drug interactions,” according to the FDA. It’s important for a patient to speak with their doctor about any other medications they’re already taking (including OTC medicines) to ensure any negative reactions are mitigated and that all drug combinations and dosages are being managed properly.

While taking any kind of medication, it is important to be aware of potential side effects and to avoid any misuse that could lead to dangerous results. Your doctor will discuss how to use your medications safely, and it’s important that all prescription and OTC drugs are taken as directed.

Prescription opioids in particular carry higher risks of addiction and overdose. To reduce the risk of opioid addiction, the CDC recommends only taking the appropriate dose as directed by your doctor, keeping your prescription in a secure place inaccessible to others, and responsibly disposing of unused or expired medications.

How SEPSC Can Help

No one should have to go about their day in pain. If you or a loved one experiences chronic pain, Southeast Pain & Spine Care is here to discuss your options and help you find a safe, comprehensive path to pain relief that’s tailored to you. Contact us to learn more or request an appointment.