If you’re part of the five billion or so people all over the world who suffer from chronic pain, you have an idea how debilitating this condition can be. It can affect your quality of life and prevent you from achieving your dreams. (1)
While everyone experiences pain from time to time, like when you scrape your knees or pull a muscle, this actually pertains to acute pain. Typically, it only lasts for a few days or weeks. For those who went through surgery or had broken bones, the pain may last up to six months. Nonetheless, acute pain is only temporary. (2)
However, if the sensation of pain goes on after six months, that’s when it can be called chronic pain. This feeling can be a sign of an underlying health condition, but it can also occur for no apparent reason at all.
Experiencing acute or chronic pain is never a pleasant feeling, though. That’s why people opt to take pain medication to make the sensation bearable. Whether you want to find wisdom tooth pain relief or from some other cause, you should be mindful of the dosage and usage recommendations for the medication that you’re planning to ingest.
With that said, here are some reminders to keep in mind before taking pain medication:
- Consult your doctor
As with anything related to your health, you should always talk to your doctor first before purchasing and ingesting the new medication. If you have a family physician, you ought to consult them about the painful symptoms that you’re experiencing.
This is because they can see the bigger picture and identify whether the sensation is caused by an underlying condition. Once they determine the cause, they can address the root of the problem rather than giving you a quick yet temporary fix through pain meds.
Whether you’re planning to drink paracetamol or ibuprofen, you should check in with your doctor first before buying them. This way, you can be assured that the medication you take is the safest and most effective route to alleviate your pain symptoms.
- Follow dosage recommendations
Another crucial factor to consider is the dosage recommendations. These instructions are written on the label or on that little pamphlet in the box for a reason. It can give you an idea of how much medicine you should be taking and how many hours the interval should be.
Some people think that drinking medicine at the wrong time and amount isn’t a big deal. However, this idea is wrong, and it can have unwanted long-term consequences. For instance, taking opioids improperly can lead to tolerance, which means you’ll have to increase the dose for the same level of pain relief, heightening the risk of accidental overdosing. (3)
- Be careful about taking multiple medications simultaneously
The reasoning behind consulting your doctor first before drinking pain meds is to ensure that they don’t conflict with the drugs you’re already taking. Failure to do so can wreak havoc in your body because these chemicals would interact, and the active ingredients mixing together may cause more problems instantaneously or in the long run.
This even applies to topical pain relief creams, since they still contain active ingredients that can seep into your bloodstream through your skin. As such, they can also interact with the chemicals that are already in your system.
- Monitor yourself for side effects
No matter how careful you and your doctor are, there may be times when you experience adverse side effects, such as allergic reactions, due to the painkillers that you consumed. Over-the-counter medications—again, when taken improperly—can lead to severe side effects on your kidneys and ulcers.
On the other hand, there are instances when a particular type of pain medication usually emits some side effects. For example, with corticosteroids, it’s typical for patients to gain weight, develop sleeping difficulties, experience mood changes, and have high blood sugar. Meanwhile, antidepressants can lead to drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, and constipation.
- Create a reminder chart and set alarms
The best way to ensure that you drink your pain meds correctly and promptly is by creating a reminder chart. List the medication that you need to take for each day. Be specific about the time and leave space at the side of the chart for your notes and additional reminders.
You should also set alarms on your phone so you can be notified that it’s time to drink your medicine. You might want to set it a few minutes earlier than the intended time so you can prepare the things you’ll need.
Pain medication can help alleviate symptoms so you can live without worry. However, even if they’re relatively common, you should still remember that these are chemicals that interact with your body and other compounds that you may be taking. With that said, you should be mindful when consuming these medications and consult your doctor for safe and best results.
- “40 Chronic Pain Statistics To Know In 2021”, Source: https://paindoctor.com/chronic-pain-statistics-2021/
- “Acute vs. Chronic Pain”, Source: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/12051-acute-vs-chronic-pain
- “5 Medication Reminder Tips to Get the Pain Relief You Need”, Source: https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/patient/treatments/medications/5-medication-reminder-tips-get-pain-relief-you-need
- Image by D G from Pixabay