Chronic Pain Management
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Chronic pain is pain that persists or grows worse over a long period of time.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Acetaminophen: This medicine decreases pain. You can buy acetaminophen without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling and pain. You can buy NSAIDs without a doctor's order. Ask your primary healthcare provider which medicine is right for you and how much to take. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if not taken correctly.
- Narcotic analgesics: These medicines, which include codeine and morphine, are used for moderate to severe pain.
- Additional medicines: These may include steroids, antidepressants, antianxiety medicine, muscle relaxers, or anticonvulsants. They may be used with your pain medicine to help decrease pain. Ask your primary healthcare provider or pain specialist for more information about these medicines.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or pain specialist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Rest: Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
- Rehabilitation: This may include physical and occupational therapy. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength and to decrease pain. An occupational therapist teaches you skills to help with your daily activities.
- Exercise: Ask your primary healthcare provider or pain specialist about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise, sports, and activity may help increase your strength and help control chronic pain.
- Keep a pain diary: A pain diary may help find the cause of your chronic pain. It helps track pain cycles and makes you more aware of when and how the pain starts and ends. Include things that make your pain worse or better. Bring your pain diary to your follow-up visits with your primary healthcare provider or pain specialist.
- Apply heat or ice: Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms. Apply heat on the area for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on the area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed. Ask if you should use heat or ice, or alternate both, to help your pain.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Ask your primary healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
- Counseling and cognitive-behavioral therapy: It may help to talk to a therapist about how you are feeling and things that may cause or increase your pain.
For support and more information:
- American Chronic Pain Association
PO Box 850
Rocklin , CA 95677
Phone: 1- 800 - 533-3231
Web Address: http://www.theacpa.org
Contact your primary healthcare provider or pain specialist if:
- You have a fever.
- You have problems sleeping.
- You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- You have nausea or vomiting.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You feel more pain even after you take your medicine.
- You feel so depressed that you cannot cope.
- You feel very anxious or irritable after you take your medicine.
- You have problems thinking clearly.
- You have trouble controlling your bowel or bladder.
- You have severe chest pain and trouble breathing all of a sudden.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.