Options for Pain Relief
If you suffer from occasional or chronic pain, you have many choices for how to handle that pain. Those that are suffering from unexplained or constant pain should make sure that their doctor is aware. Some of the options listed here require a doctor's prescription or intervention.
For the occasional neck or back pain, an over-the-counter pain medication will probably suffice. Options include ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen. This, along with a hot bath or heating pad can at times be all that's needed to alleviate pain. Over-the-counter topical pain medications can also help. Some are warming, others are cooling, but the idea is to roll this substance over the affected area for pain relief without having to swallow medicine.
You may also want to consult a chiropractor or acupuncturist for natural relief of occasional or intermittent pain. Medical insurance will sometimes cover all or part of the expense of seeing this type of alternative medical practitioner. Another option for natural pain relief is getting a therapeutic massage at a private office or spa. This can be very relaxing and help work out pain that stems from stress and overuse of muscles.
If your pain is greater or chronic, you may need stronger, prescription medications for its management. These can include narcotic pain relievers such as morphine or codeine. These can be very effective at managing pain, but it's also possible to become addicted to them, so care should be taken when using this type of opioid drug. In certain situations, a steroid drug may be prescribed for pain as well, either in addition to pain relief drugs or alone.
Your doctor may also suggest an epidural shot for chronic pain. This involves getting a shot in your spine or joint to improve range of motion and reduce pain for an extended period of time.
Physical therapy can be an effective long-term strategy for pain relief. This involves stretching and certain exercises to improve muscle strength, range of motion and relieve pain. This is an especially effective strategy if the pain was caused by an accident or injury and can actually eliminate the source of pain, rather than just masking it like some of the other options.