FAQs on Pain Medication Management in Philadelphia

Patients suffer from chronic pain for many reasons. Pain medication management is used to chronic pain, which is pain that persists for six months or longer. Most chronic pain is caused by chronic health conditions.

What does pain medication management mean?

Pain medication management involves working with the patient to develop a treatment plan that effectively and safely alleviates pain. Not all medication is right for everyone, and the doctor may need to try different medications before achieving optimal results.

What are some common causes of chronic pain?

Chronic pain results from headaches, back pain, neck pain, tendinitis, arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, and failed back surgery syndrome. Many spinal conditions cause back pain, such as spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, and bulging disc.

What is involved with pain medication management?

The doctor can prescribe one or more pain medicines for the management of chronic pain. These include:

  • NSAIDs – The first-line treatment for pain involves over-the-counter and prescription strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
  • Antidepressants – Certain antidepressant agents are used for the management of neuropathic pain, including amitriptyline and nortriptyline.
  • Neurogenic modifying agents – For nerve pain associated with sciatica or spinal stenosis, the doctor may prescribe Lyrica or Neurontin.
  • Muscle relaxants – For muscle spasms associated with certain chronic pain conditions, the doctor may order Robaxin or Baclofen.
  • Corticosteroids – These are used to reduce inflammation to relieve pain.
  • Opioids – To alleviate severe pain, these are used for short-term. Also called narcotic analgesics, opioids are made in short-term and long-term release.
  • Anticonvulsants – These include pregabalin, gabapentin, and topamax, which are used for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
  • Topical agents – These are agents that can be absorbed through the skin. Often compounded by the pharmacist, topical medications are used to treat neuropathic pain, chronic back pain, and osteoarthritis pain. Examples include capsaicin and lidocaine patch (Lidoderm).

How does the doctor use pain medication management to provide chronic pain relief?

The goal of pain medication management is to alleviate (relieve) chronic pain so the patient can participate in usual daily activities and enjoy improved quality of life. While taking medications, you will visit the pain specialist regularly to discuss your progress and monitor your treatment.

What can I expect at my first pain medication management appointment?

When you visit the pain management specialist’s office, the doctor will assess your condition, review your medical condition, and tailor a treatment specific to your needs. Along with medication, the doctor will recommend interventional procedures, such as medial branch blocks, epidural steroid injections, and radiofrequency ablation. Other therapies that help chronic pain include physical therapy, chiropractic care, and acupuncture. To assure medication is being taken appropriately, random testing is done with urine screens.

What risks are associated with pain medication management?

The risks associated with pain medicine include constipation, drug allergy, hormone abnormalities, and even death. Many patients report excessive drowsiness and lack of energy, as well.

What are the benefits of pain medication management?

With a proper pain medication treatment plan, you will not suffer in pain and can return to usual activities. Many patients enjoy improved sleeping and mood.

What does pain medication management mean?

Pain medication management involves working with the patient to develop a treatment plan that effectively and safely alleviates pain. Not all medication is right for everyone, and the doctor may need to try different medications before achieving optimal results.

Resources

American Chronic Pain Association (2014). ACPA resource guide to chronic pain medication and treatment. Retrieved from: http://www.theacpa.org/uploads/documents/ACPA_Resource_Guide_2014_FINAL%20(2).pdf