Everyone has pain now and then. Pain is a signal to our body that something is wrong. As we get older, we may endure more pain because we develop osteoarthritis and other ailments. Because of the recent problems with cox-2 inhibitors, many people are left asking if there is anything the can do for pain.
Other people suffer needlessly because they are afraid to take medications. They do not want to get 'hooked' on drugs. It is important to remember that most pain medicines are not addictive but all medicines have side effects.
We need to look at pain realistically. Not all pain can be relieved completely. But, working with our physician, we should be able to achieve a tolerable level of pain
First, check with your doctor, explain your pain, and ask if it is OK for you to take specific non-prescription drugs. If you have certain allergies, are on some prescription medicines, or have kidney or liver disease, it will limit what you can take.
Some over-the-counter medications are effective pain relievers. Acetaminophen, also known by the brand name, Tylenol, is a good pain reliever. The trouble is people often do not take it properly. You should take according to directions up to the maximum dose.
The generic brands of this medicine are effective so you do not need to pay a premium. You also should continue taking it for several days. Often we have to wait for the medicine to take full effect. If after three days, it gives you no relief, then report back to your doctor.
Another good non-prescription pain reliever is ibuprofen. The common trade name is Motrin. The NSAIDS or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are particularly good for joint and back pain. Another effective NSAID is naproxen or Aleve. Again, to give these a fair trial, they must be used up to the maximum dose. NSAIDS have a potentially serious side effect-they can cause stomach irritation and even bleeding. It is a good practice to never take them on an empty stomach.
Exercise is also as good pain reliever. It helps the body produce natural pain medicines, the endorphins, and it helps get our mind off the hurt. With back problems, for instance, proper exercise can strengthen muscles and help alleviate the root of the problem. This is especially true if your pain is caused by osteoarthritis.
When over-the-counter medicines do not do the trick, your doctor may prescribe a number of other pain killers. A common addition is an antidepressant drug. They are not given because you are depressed but because they have been shown to reduce pain for some. They also may allow someone to sleep well.
Some physicians, especially anesthesiologists, have a specialized training in pain medicine and have pain clinics. They have some very sophisticated methods that may help when other things fail.
Control of pain may be a matter of trial and error. The goal is the same-to make you as comfortable as possible.