Pain Treatment Options People Do Not Always Know About
When most people think of chronic pain treatments, they often think of over-the-counter medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen products like Tylenol and Advil. Stronger pain relievers such as opioids or narcotics are also available by prescription only. Here are some less known treatment options that may be beneficial for pain-related conditions.
1. Topical Medications
Most pain relievers are taken in pill form; however, taking them topically can also be highly effective. Topical medications, such as the lidocaine patch, are also known as topical analgesics. They can help manage pain caused by osteoarthritis, low back pain, and diabetic neuropathy. Capsaicin cream, which is derived from chili peppers, can also be used to relieve pain. It needs to be applied several times a day topically for six weeks for best results.
Corticosteroids, or steroids for short, are potent anti-inflammatory medications that may be necessary to use if prescription-strength NSAIDs do not reduce pain. They can be injected or taken orally. They work by reducing inflammation, which causes pain. They are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, migraines and low back pain.
3. Anti-Seizure Medications
Anti-seizure medications are also known as anti-epileptics or anticonvulsants. They reduce painful sensations by interrupting pain signals sent to the brain. Keep in mind that if a doctor prescribes you with an anti-seizure medication, it does not mean you are being treated for seizures. They work by treating pain caused by fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy. Examples include pregabalin and gabapentin.
If a doctor prescribes you an antidepressant, it does not necessarily mean you are being treated for depression. Anti-depressants control pain by altering the body’s chemical signals. The three categories of anti-depressants include TCAs, SNRIs, and SSRIs. TCAs work by raising the amount of chemical messengers in the brain. SNRIs alter the body’s ability to reabsorb certain neurotransmitters. And SSRIs are primarily used to treat depression and not necessarily chronic pain.