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What If My Pain Isn't Controlled By My Doctor?

If your doctor is unable to adequately control your pain, consider asking for a referral to a pain specialist. If there is not a pain specialist or pain treatment facility in your area, travel to the nearest facility. You can develop a plan with the specialist, which can then be administered by your own local physician.

What If My Doctor Is Not Willing To Give Me A Pain Management Plan?

If your doctor is unwilling to help you develop a pain management plan that includes prescribing medications that adequately control your pain; you may wish to consider changing doctors. This is not a decision that should be made lightly.

Speak to your doctor to determine the reasons for his refusal. Is he concerned about "addiction? Does he fear legal ramifications for writing too many narcotic prescriptions?

Presenting your doctor with the facts about addiction and pain management may help alleviate these fears.

The bottom line is that pain management is just as important, and should receive the same attention as the other medical aspects of your condition.

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What If My Doctor Prescribes A One-Size-Fits-All Pain Medication Schedule Instead Of One Geared To My Pain?

Some recent studies indicate that many people with chronic pain experience that pain on similar schedules. The level of pain tends to be more tolerable during the day, and then begins to peak between 3p.m. and 10 p.m. You may have your own pain cycle.

Many doctors do not consider pain cycles when prescribing medications. Instead, they recommend the standard 2 or 3 times a day equal dose of long-acting pain medication. This may result in a drowsy medication hangover in the morning, and inadequate pain prevention the rest of the day.

If this sounds like your situation, speak to your doctor.

The most effective approach for many people may be one large dose of long-acting pain medication before lunch and a small dose at bedtime.

If your doctor can't relieve your pain, either seek a pain specialist in addition to your doctor, or switch to a specialist who is also experienced in pain management.

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Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Pain Medications?

Avoid alcohol consumption when taking narcotics, and some other medications.

Alcohol can intensify the effects of the medication and may increase the risks of serious side effects including a deadly overdose.

It has been reported that a shot of alcohol such as bourbon before bedtime can help people in pain sleep. However, do not consider even one shot without consulting with your doctor.

What If I See More Than One Doctor?

In order to avoid complications or drug interactions, one doctor should be in charge of prescribing all of your pain medications.

If you are consulting with another doctor who wants to make changes to your medication, always insist that the two doctors speak to one another before making any change.

If Pain Medications Work For Me, Why Should I Also Consider Different Methods Of Pain Control?

Combining therapies may reduce the amount of medication required to control your pain. The less of any drug you take, the less the risk.

For example you might try combining a relaxation technique in combination with taking your pain medication.

Know your body and its limits. When you are rested and alert you may want to try a treatment that requires more concentration and energy, such as meditation or imagery. When you are tired or fatigued you may want to try hot or cold packs.

Ask your doctor about the possibility of a low impact exercise program to relieve tension and stress. Exercise may not be appropriate for all conditions and you should never start an exercise program without first speaking to your doctor.

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When I Take Pain Medications, I Get Relief Right Away. What If The Same Thing Doesn't Happen With Other Treatments?

Keep an open mind when trying a new treatment. To be effective, treatments such as visualization, and breathing exercises may take a little time and practice. Consider trying a treatment at least several times over a period of a couple of weeks to determine if it is beneficial in helping to control your pain. Remember: we all experience pain in our own individual way. Not all methods will work for everyone. Keep a record in your diary as to what works and what doesn’t.

What If My Doctor Recommends Surgery To Control Pain?

If your doctor recommends surgery as a means of controlling your pain, seek a second opinion to determine the necessity and possible benefits. Preferably the second opinion will come from someone other than a surgeon since surgeons tend to think surgery is the answer.

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Second Opinions 101

What If The Pain Gets Me Down?

Consider joining a support group or speaking to a therapist. Chronic pain can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety and isolation. It can be helpful to speak with others who are experiencing the same feelings. Support groups can also be a good place to learn about treatments and other coping skills.

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What If Pain Interferes With My Work?

If your pain interferes with work, consider speaking to your employer to see what arrangements can be made. If you can work in spite of your pain, you are likely entitled to a reasonable accommodation for the pain.

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Is Pain Relief Addictive?

Some pain relievers are addictive.

As a general matter, pain relievers are not addictive when used to relieve pain.

However, abuse of a pain medication by taking more than prescribed can be addictive.

Some addicted people report that the addiction is worse than their disease.