What are Pain Pills or Pain Meds?
Pain pills, otherwise classified as analgesics, are any meds used to achieve relief from pain. These pain meds can relieve headaches, arthritis, sore muscles and other types of aches and pains. They are different from anaesthetics, which temporarily prevent the sensation of pain.
There are many types of pain meds, from over-the-counter pain pills to more potent prescription pain meds. Each of these offers benefits and risks, as each individual may also have a slightly different reaction to a pain reliever. Some pain meds facilitate a better response to certain types of pain than others do.
There are various steps that patients can take, to help ease their pain following their pain treatment plan. When choosing pain meds, patients must be aware of their response to other meds in general. This determines the type of pain agent used. The World Health Organization (WHO) pain ladder can help with this choice.
A patient’s analgesic choice is also dependent on the type of pain they are experiencing. For example, neuropathic pain cannot be treated with traditional pain relievers, as they provide little effectiveness for the condition. Opioid pain meds are usually considered. Patients can also benefit from the category of meds, which are not considered analgesics, such as anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).
How do They Work?
Pain meds work in different ways on the peripheral and central nervous systems. The human body has nerve endings, which are responsible for transmitting messages to the brain in the event of an injury. Pain pills can change these messages, which transmit in the brain, spinal cord, or area where the injury occurs. These pills can include everything from aspirin and paracetamol to NSAIDs, opiates derived from the opium poppy and so on.
How pain is felt in the body is a complex process, as it also involves the emotions. A patient’s pain experience is thus unique, and certain circumstances and moods of that patient can affect how much pain they actually ‘feel’.
Different Pain pills activate their functions in contrasting ways. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) alter the way the body responds to pain and inflammation. Opioid analgesics work by inhibiting pain messages in the brain and spinal cord. While the mechanism of action is still under study for paracetamol, it is agreed that it can block pain signals to the brain.
Due to these differing mechanisms in the body, some pain treatment courses contain more than one type of pain-controlling agent. For example, NSAIDs or paracetamol can be added with certain opioids. If patients use a combination of pain meds, it is crucial to read the information leaflets to ensure they do not take too much of either agent – or that the agents can be safely taken together.
Types of Pain pills Can Treat
Pain is a necessary sensation in the body as it informs the body that it needs extra care. The phenomenon also prevents an individual from injuring a body part even more. However, in some patients, the sensation of pain gets overwhelming, which inhibits them from moving and in some instances, even get out of bed. This is where Pain pills come in.
Although individual patients experience different types of pain, there is always a pain pills best suited for that specific pain. The intensity of pain also varies in patients, which further contributes to their choice of pain medication.
The different types of pain include:
- ✔ Inflammatory pain and swelling
- ✔ Acute and chronic pain
- ✔ Nociceptive pain
- ✔ Nerve pain
The most suitable Pain pills that patients can use for the above can be broken down as follows:
- ✔ For inflammatory pain – NSAIDs are often advised for the treatment of this pain. It occurs when the body’s musculoskeletal soft tissue is compromised. NSAIDs such as naproxen, ibuprofen or other meds such as paracetamol and aspirin can successfully reduce swelling and pain.
- ✔ Acute or chronic pain – Acute pain is pain which lasts for a short while. It is commonly due to a soft-tissue injury or a medical condition. Acute pain can result in a chronic condition if it is not appropriately treated. Mild opioids to stronger prescription Pain pills are used as a treatment for these pains.
- ✔ Nociceptive pain – This is physical damage to the body. Mild nociceptive pain can be treated with over-the-counter meds, while severe pain can be treated with opioid analgesics.
- ✔ Nerve pain – Anticonvulsants, antidepressants and opioids all have the necessary properties to treat these pains.
Identifying the type of pain is the most vital part of a pain treatment journey. It also reduces the possibility of experiencing side effects or rejection of the pain medication by the body.
How Should Pain pills be Taken?
Patients who are in pain regularly are typically advised to take over-the-counter pain medication every day. A general dosage structure would involve the pain pills being taken four times daily, until the pain is completely gone or subsided. Other than that, pain meds are taken on an as-needed basis.
NSAIDs are best taken with or after food, to avoid the irritation of the lining in the stomach. Stronger pain meds should be taken for the shortest timeframe possible, in the lowest effective dose. This assists with the prevention of side effects.
Usually, patients will only have to take their analgesics for a few days to a week; however, certain patients have painful chronic conditions and need to take analgesics on a long-term plan. This includes individuals with osteoarthritis, neuropathic pain, or chronic back pain.
Are Pain pills Safe?
Pain pills are usually safe to use, especially the non-prescription agents. However, certain existing medical conditions can hinder their ability and cause further complications for the patient. This includes low blood pressure or heart conditions.
The use of Tramadol pills, Oxycodone pills, Hydrocodone pills and percocet pills poses a risk of dependency if not administered according to doctor’s orders. These pills should only be used for the intended treatment course, and a tapering off process should be followed upon discontinuation.
Pain meds should not be taken consecutively unless specified otherwise. The indicated maximum dose should not be exceeded. All analgesics have side effects and have the possibility to lead to difficulties. To avoid this, it is important to safely use these meds.
Dr. Lim from Harvard Health Publishing recommends patients take the lowest dose of pain meds to achieve adequate pain relief. She also says if the medication shows no relief, try another pain medication.
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