FAQs

FAQs

Always consult with your doctor before stopping any prescribed treatment or changing your dosage. When you don’t have to take the pain medicine any longer, your doctor can help you slowly and safely decrease the amount of medicine you need. He or she also can discuss how to safely dispose of your medication.

Psychosocial treatment is an important part of balanced pain management. It can help people who experience pain cope with the emotional and social aspects of pain. Your pain is real; it’s not in your head. People with chronic, long-term pain almost always experience depression. Stress and depression can make pain worse. In addition, pain rarely affects only the individual with pain – it affects the family too. So approaches should include an assessment of ways that family members can assist in safely and appropriately helping the person with pain to manage his or her pain. Psychological treatment and counseling can also help people with pain learn relaxation techniques, coping skills and lifestyle modifications to address their depression and anxiety.

Psychosocial treatment is an important part of balanced pain management. It can help people who experience pain cope with the emotional and social aspects of pain. Your pain is real; it’s not in your head. People with chronic, long-term pain almost always experience depression. Stress and depression can make pain worse. In addition, pain rarely affects only the individual with pain – it affects the family too. So approaches should include an assessment of ways that family members can assist in safely and appropriately helping the person with pain to manage his or her pain. Psychological treatment and counseling can also help people with pain learn relaxation techniques, coping skills and lifestyle modifications to address their depression and anxiety.

Psychosocial treatment is an important part of balanced pain management. It can help people who experience pain cope with the emotional and social aspects of pain. Your pain is real; it’s not in your head. People with chronic, long-term pain almost always experience depression. Stress and depression can make pain worse. In addition, pain rarely affects only the individual with pain – it affects the family too. So approaches should include an assessment of ways that family members can assist in safely and appropriately helping the person with pain to manage his or her pain. Psychological treatment and counseling can also help people with pain learn relaxation techniques, coping skills and lifestyle modifications to address their depression and anxiety.

Therapeutic yoga involves modified stretching, poses and breathing techniques that can be very beneficial for pain control.

A variety of approaches can be used to help people in pain and complement other more traditional forms of treatment. These include: biofeedback, meditation, therapeutic massage, hypnosis and visual imagery, nutrition counseling and even music therapy. Talk to your health care provider about options that might help you to achieve greater pain control and improve your overall health and well-being.

Everyone reacts to painful stimuli in different ways. If you have mild pain that does not go away with over-the-counter treatments, or if you have moderate or severe pain, see a doctor for a consultation. A doctor can assess your pain and determine what approaches will be most effective for you. If you are prescribed a medication, be sure to discuss ways to responsibly use, store and discard them to ensure your medication is not misused or diverted.

Depending on where you live, your local medical center, teaching hospital or specialized pain clinic may offer balanced pain management programs or services.

Pain is often a complex process. All people react in different ways to pain, and pain – especially chronic pain – has emotional, psychological and social components as well as physical ones. In addition, there are many different types of pain. Causes can include an injury, accident, illness, medical condition, surgery, or pain can become a medical condition of its own.

People with pain may have difficulty coping. They may become depressed or feel anxious, fearful or even angry, and they may have difficulty sleeping, working and enjoying daily activities and relationships may suffer. For these reasons, it is important that people with pain have a comprehensive treatment plan that includes approaches that address each of these aspects, such as physical therapy, medication and counseling or psychological-based treatments to manage pain and a sense of well-being.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently passed an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act that expands options for disposing of controlled substances like opioid pain medications, stimulants and anti-depressants. Consumers should check with their local pharmacy to determine if it has set up collection bins or other options for disposing prescription medications. Pharmacies aren’t required to participate, so it’s a good idea to check first. In addition, consumers can visit Medicine Abuse Project for drop-off locations near them. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also allows certain unused medicines to be discarded with household trash when mixed with coffee grinds or cat litter. Some medicines can also be safely discarded by flushing.

Always store all prescription medications where they can’t be accessed by children, teens or others in your household. They should be out of reach, secured and preferably locked up. Follow the medication’s directions, and never change the dose or abruptly stop taking the medication without talking to your doctor first. Never share your prescription pain medications with someone else. These medications are meant for you to treat your medical condition. While the medication is safe for you to take, it is not safe for anyone else. If you have unused pills, liquid or patches, new home medication disposal systems are now available that make it safe to dispose of your prescriptions in an environment friendly way. These systems use special technology to neutralize and deactivate the medication’s components. Also check with your local pharmacy or clinic to see if it has set up special collection bins for returning unused prescription medicines; new legislation expands options for disposing of controlled substances like opioid pain medications, stimulants and anti-depressants.

For more tips on securing your medications, visit Medicine Abuse Project – How to safeguard your home

For tips on proper disposal and finding a local take-back location, visit Medicine Abuse Project – Medicine Disposal 

In some cases, especially if pain is more severe, prescription medications may be needed to treat pain. Your doctor will determine what medical therapy may provide the most effective and optimal pain relief. Some pain medications, including opioids, can be habit-forming and nearly all prescription medications have potentially serious side effects, including physical dependence. Some people may develop a tolerance to opioid medications, requiring an increasing amount of the medication to achieve the same effect. For some people who have severe chronic pain, these drugs may be an important part of their total treatment plan, and when combined with other therapies help improve quality of life, increase function and reduce suffering. If your doctor prescribes prescription medications for your pain, be sure to carefully follow directions. When you don’t have to take the pain medicine any longer, your doctor can help you slowly and safely decrease the amount of medicine you need. As with any prescription medication, it is critical to use, store and dispose of leftover medication to help prevent misuse, abuse and diversion.

Balanced pain management is a comprehensive approach to diagnosing, treating and controlling pain. It uses a multi-pronged and individualized treatment plan to coordinate safe and effective options that can address the physical, emotional, social and psychological aspects of pain. In a balanced approach to pain management, people with pain, along with family members and caregivers, learn to manage their pain in safe, effective, responsible and healthy ways to improve or maintain their overall well-being.

Components may include physical therapy and rehabilitation, psychological counseling, social support, medication and other complementary approaches. When medications are necessary, there must be full recognition of potential side effects and appropriate management of the medications. Equally important, there must also be a commitment to safely use, store and dispose of such medications, if prescribed, as part of the pain management plan.

It is important that people with pain know that they will have to be active participants in their health care, along with family members and caregivers who help the person with pain with their journey from patient to person. Balanced pain management means a team approach to ensure that people with pain can improve their quality of life, increase function and reduce suffering.