When you have chronic pain, finding effective relief can sometimes feel like a lost cause. For many people, chronic pain medication may seem like the only hope. But many others are left wondering: do these pills even help?
At the Center for Pain Management, we believe the best approach to effective pain management includes individualized and comprehensive treatment. Sometimes, the best approach even involves decreasing the amount of pain medication you’re on or changing it altogether.
These are the five most common reasons pain management doctors might reduce a patient’s medication:
1. The medication isn’t helping.
Pain medication doesn’t necessarily make your pain go away completely. But it should at least make your pain levels more manageable. When a medication isn’t effectively alleviating your symptoms, more medication isn’t always the answer. Instead, you may need a change.
2. You’re experiencing unwanted side effects.
Pain medications often come with unpleasant effects like constipation, nausea, and drowsiness. If side effects start to impair your quality of life or safety, it may be time to re-evaluate your current dosage.
3. Your doctor wants you to avoid drug tolerance.
Drug tolerance is when you need more and more of a medication to achieve the desired effect. If left unchecked, this can quickly develop into drug dependency and abuse. Your doctor may gradually reduce your dosage over time to minimize your risk of drug tolerance.
4. Your doctor wants to try a different medication.
For a number of reasons, you and your doctor may decide a different medication may be more suitable for your needs. But to transition you to a new prescription, you may need to be gradually weaned off your current medication.
5. Your pain medication is contraindicated.
It might be unsafe for you to take certain pain medications if you have or develop a health condition like liver disease, kidney failure, or stomach ulcers. Plus, long-term use of some pain medications may increase your risk of serious adverse effects including organ damage and lowered immune function.