Pain medication is a vital part of your health care. It can help you manage your pain and get back to living a normal life. But there are lots of different kinds of pain medication—many more than just the common opioids or acetaminophen. Dr Julian Sargon-Ungar Lafayette Indiana Which one is right for you? Your doctor can help guide you through this decision, but a little research on your own can’t hurt. Here’s a brief overview of some common options:
Opioids are a class of drugs that reduce the intensity of pain. They work by binding to receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which decreases the perception of pain and makes you feel less anxious.
Opioid medications include:
• Fentanyl patches or lozenges
• Hydrocodone -or hydromorphone as alternative options if you have trouble sleeping while taking other opioids
NSAIDs are the most common type of pain medication, and they’re available over the counter. If you’re looking for short-term relief from arthritis or muscle aches, NSAIDs can be helpful. But if your pain is more severe or lasts longer than two weeks, you should talk to your doctor about other options.
NSAIDs work by reducing inflammation in the body that causes pain and swelling. They also decrease blood flow to areas where there is damage (like when you sprain an ankle).
Antidepressants are medications used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. They work by increasing the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which can help reduce pain, says Dr Julian Sargon-Ungar. Antidepressants are not considered first-line treatment for chronic pain because they may take weeks or even months to reach full effectiveness, but they can be helpful when other treatments haven’t worked.
Analgesics are pain relievers that can help reduce the symptoms of chronic or acute pain. They include acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.
These medications can be taken as needed for sudden or occasional pain. You can also take them on a regular schedule to help prevent headaches, muscle aches and other minor aches and pains. If you need to take more than 3 grams of aspirin per day, talk to your doctor first because it may cause stomach bleeding if you have ulcers or certain medical conditions. Some analgesics are available over-the-counter while others require a prescription from your doctor.