If people need anti-inflammatory medicine like Advil, using it to alleviate moderate pain is OK, Dr. Todd Cousins, a pain management associate at Geisinger Gray's Woods, says. The standards for prescribing opioids are much different, he adds.
Patients ask for pain medication all the time to get some degree of relief. Doctors have to first evaluate the pain and then look for alternative strategies such as physical therapy, acupuncture or injection procedures, Dr. Cousins add.
Use of opioids for acute pain is still the right approach, but doctors try to develop courses of treatment that eliminate or shorten the need for them.
“Just because a pain relief medication is sold over-the-counter (OTC) doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile,” Dr. Cousins says. Alieve use to be “Prescription Only,” but over the years it has shown to be effective without serious side effects.
Some people think that by taking more painkiller you get more pain relief, but this is a dangerous mistake that can lead to overdosing respiratory depression, if taken with other meds or alcohol, Dr. Cousins says. “Alcohol magnifies the effects of opioids, making it much more likely to overdose.”
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