Conventional treatment depends on whether the pain is acute or chronic as well as the location of the pain. In addition, doctors take into account the cause and severity of the pain, aggravating and relieving conditions and any accompanying symptoms such as depression and sleep disorders.
There are a number of treatments that are often used concomitantly for pain relief.
Medications: There are different categories of pain killers utilized based on the type, severity, location of the pain, and the patient’s response.
Non-opoids –These drugs include: NSAIDs –Non Steroid Anti-Inflammatory medications (Iburofen/Advil/Motrin®, Naproxen/Alleve/Naprosyn®), acetaminophen and aspirin.
Opioids –Prescription narcotics (Morphine, Codeine, Oxycodone)
Adjuvant analgesics – This category of drugs enhance analgesic effects when administered along with other analgesics. They are at times used as a first line approach for patients suffering from chronic pain. These include among others: antidepressants and anticonvulsants
Muscle relaxants (Soma®, Robaxin®, Flexeril®)
Corticosteroids (Prednisone, Methyl prednisolone, Cortizone®)
Topical analgesics Aspercreme®, Myoflex® , Voltaren® Emugel® and Capsaicin preparations such as Zostrix®
Local anesthetics (Benzocaine® Lidocaine®)
Medications are usually given orally but can be injected as well as applied topically. Each of the medications has their own set of side effects which vary in severity and affect individuals taking them in different ways. NSAIDs’ side effects include: gastrointestinal upset or bleeding, asthma, and may cause Reyes Syndrome in children. Tylenol or acetaminophen has been shown to be the number one cause of liver failure in the U.S. Narcotics are habit forming and have a variety of side effects including: respiratory depression, constipation, nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, confusion among others.
Other methods of conventional treatment for pain include physical therapy which may incorporate the TENS Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit for pain relief. In addition, traction may be used and surgery when there are physiological changes..
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