Delivering Pain Medication
Medications will help control pain. There are many ways to take pain medications. For instance, you may use pills, patches, or a special pump. As you feel better, the way you take medications may change.
Pills and Tablets
Some medications are swallowed and others are allowed to dissolve in the mouth.
Patches and Suppositories
A patch placed on the skin provides medication over a few days. Some medications are placed in the rectum.
IVs and PCA Pumps
With IV (intravenous) delivery, a catheter (small tube) sends medications into a vein in the hand or forearm. With a PCA (patient-controlled analgesia) pump, you push a button to receive a dose.
In some cases, injections are used for overall pain relief. Injections can also relieve pain in specific areas. For instance, a steroid injection into a joint can block joint pain. Or a nerve block might be used.
Regional anesthesia controls severe pain. Medications are delivered near the spine. These methods (epidural or spinal) block pain in one section of the body, often from the waist down.
Will I Become Addicted?
Addiction is a craving for certain medications. This is of concern for some patients who are prescribed opioids. Opioids are manmade pain relievers. They do not contain opium. Addiction is very uncommon if these medications are used as directed. It is normal, though, for the body to get used to opioids. This is called physical dependence. You may feel shaky, for instance, if you stop treatment too quickly. To avoid this, you will be eased off opioids. This will be done when you no longer need them.