Tips & Advice
What should I know about alternative treatments and remedies for pain?
Several forms of pain management exist that are not approved typically treated by physicians or covered by health insurance plans. These include therapies like acupuncture, for example, or herbal preparations sold in stores. Before beginning any form of treatment or medication not approved by a doctor, it’s a good idea to still reach out to a physician or expert in alternative medicine for advice, or conduct some research online first.
How is pain management different for children?
Managing pain in children can be complicated, as kids may have more difficulty communicating their pain to doctors. Children also need to be more carefully monitored when taking most medications.
Will health insurance pay for pain management therapy?
Health insurance might cover a selection of approved pain management therapies. Every insurance plan is different, so patients should check with their provider to make sure.
How can pain management techniques be applied at home?
Patients might be instructed to continue therapy at home, either through regular exercise or specific treatment. Some people also find that getting frequent rest, taking warm baths or avoiding certain foods, for example, can help manage pain.
What are the risks and side effects of medication for pain management?
Side effects depend on the exact drugs and dosages used, as well as the disease being treated and many other factors. Some pain-relieving drugs, especially opioids, are known to cause drowsiness. Many antidepressants also cause a variety of adverse effects. Doctors must work closely with patients to minimize these side effects in the course of treatment.
What medications are used for pain management?
Several types of medications might be prescribed for chronic pain management:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include name brand drugs like- Motrin, Tylenol and Aleve. Other forms in larger doses may be prescribed. NSAIDs are useful for long-term management of mild to moderate pain.
- Opioids or opiates are drugs derived from opium, and should only be used under a doctor’s supervision. These include morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, and many others. Opioids range in strength and appropriate use -- they might be prescribed for daily pain management, as well as short-term uses like post-surgery pain treatment.
- Antidepressants might be useful for some pain management cases. Chronic pain often occurs concurrently in people with depression, anxiety and some other mental illnesses. Common name-brand antidepressants used for pain include Lexapro, Cymbalta and Elavil.
- Cannabinoids are derived from naturally occurring chemicals in the cannabis plant. In some states, patients might be prescribed cannabis for pain management. Cannabis may be ingested or vaporized and inhaled.
What are some common forms of psychological pain management?
Since pain originates in the brain, some theorize that there may be underlying mental conditions affecting certain types of chronic pain. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help patients understand and control physical manifestations of stress that may contribute to pain. Mindfulness meditation has also become a popular adjunct to pain management regimens, as it may help patients relax and better manage symptoms.
What are some common forms of physical pain management?
Physical (non-drug) therapies may be used to manage pain. These techniques might include:
- Thermal treatment
- Electrical stimulation
- Light therapy
A pain management specialist will work with a patient to determine the best treatment options based on their needs, which might include one or more of these types of physical therapy.
What diseases or conditions may require pain management therapy?
Common diseases requiring pain management therapy include various cancers and some types of mental illness. Additionally, those who suffer chronic pain as a result of a previous injury, illness or treatment might require pain management therapy.
Pain management is a branch of medical science focusing on the study and treatment of pain in the human body. Physicians specializing in pain management use a number of different types of therapy, from physical therapy to medication.