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Pharmacologic Pain Management

Depending on your acute or chronic pain condition, there may be several types of management or treatment strategies available that can provide you with the pain relief and quality of life you deserve. Ranging from pain medications to interventional procedures, medical pain management treatments may not eradicate all of your pain, but instead reduce how much pain you have and how often it occurs. Specifically, pharmacologic pain management focuses on the administration of prescription (Rx) or over-the-counter (OTC) medications to alleviate your pain symptoms. During the evaluation period, your physician may decide whether a pharmacologic pain management plan will be effective in treating the condition and severity of your pain. If drug treatment is established, there are many types of medications from which your physician may choose to administer, prescribe, or recommend.

Type Application
Narcotics (Opioids)/Analgesics Usually short-term acute pain control
Muscle Relaxants Relieve muscle spasms and cramping
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) Reduce inflammation and pain
Corticosteroids Suppress inflammation and pain
Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) Improve depression, pain, and fatigue

Some of the medications listed above may be used in combination while others cannot be combined. Your physician will know the difference and be able to advise you on what treatment option is best for you. Whether your medication is prescribed or over-the-counter, there are risks – potential side effects or drug interactions, and possible addiction or liver damage. Be sure to tell your doctor about any allergies, current medications, and use of vitamins or herbal supplements. Also, be open and honest about your medical history and your family’s medical history in order for your physician to discern predisposed or genetic conditions. Pharmacologic pain management may just be the treatment that works best for your acute or chronic pain condition and if so, the professional physicians at our medical center will assist you along your journey to pain relief and a better quality of life.

Narcotic Management

Narcotic is a term that is usually used more for legal reasons. Narcotics and opioids are often interchanged. Opioids are medications that act on different pain receptors in the body. If the medication hits these receptors, it decreases or eliminates the pain sensation that a patient may feel. However, these medications can hit many other receptors in the body causing various side effects and potentially life threatening issues. In pain management, the use of opioids is common, but only after other reasonable treatments have been utilized and failed. Use of opioids in patients is well controlled and strictly monitored by providers. Depending on which state your provider practices, there are different rules and regulations to the prescribing and monitoring of opioid use in patients. There is also a national agency that monitors all prescriptions written for opioids, known as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Every pain management practice has their own practices and policies in place that allow proper and well controlled opioid/narcotic management.

Adjunctive Medication Management

Adjunctive means “added” or “in addition to”. In interventional pain management, the use of more than one medication can be common. This means that providers can “add” medications to the treatment plan, which further enhances the process of pain relief. The use of multiple medications, also known as polypharmacy, can be crucial to patients in achieving their optimal levels of pain control. In interventional pain management, the use of adjunctive medications such as anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines, corticosteroids, etc, can be pertinent in achieving long-term pain relief. Sometimes these medications are “added” to the use of opioids for treatment of pain. It is crucial that your provider knows any and all medications that you are on. With the increase number of medications (polypharmacy) that a patient is taking, there is an increase likelihood of adverse events, side effects, and/or life threatening events. With close medication management, safe and optimal pain control can be achieved.