Pain is part of life. Everyone will experience pain at some point, whether it’s minor or more severe. You may take a nasty spill, or perhaps you need surgery, or else, you’re injured in a car accident. Anyone could find themselves needing the assistance of prescription pain medications to control their pain until the body heals. Pain causes stress and isn’t conducive to the healing process. If you need short-term treatment of moderate to severe pain, your doctor will likely prescribe some type of narcotic medication to ease your pain.
More About Narcotic Therapy
Narcotics are prescribed for pain because they are very effective. However, they also carry the potential for addiction. Everyone has different brain chemistry and therefore will respond to narcotic pain medications differently. Some are even genetically pre-disposed to addiction and don’t discover this until after they have taken a narcotic and become addicted to it. However, this is very rare. If you have a painful condition and your doctor thinks that narcotics are warranted, you should listen. If you’ve actually had an addiction problem before, even with a different substance, such as alcohol, you should let your doctor know. He or she will decide from there the best course of action for you.
Key Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Be proactive in your medical care. Ask questions! It’s your right. Let your doctor know your concerns. It is his or her job to listen to you and take your concerns into consideration during your care. Keep these three questions in mind when your doctor thinks you need narcotic medication:
What are some possible side effects?
Be sure you understand the major possible side effects. Take your pain medication EXACTLY as prescribed on the bottle. If your doctor is unavailable for future questions, don’t hesitate to call the pharmacy and ask to speak with a pharmacist.
Is there an alternative?
Depending upon your pain level, it’s possible that a much weaker pain medication would work for you. There are also non-narcotic pain medicines, such as those similar to ibuprofen, that may work for some people. Keep in mind, though, that this class of drugs isn’t likely to control severe pain.
What about the risk of addiction?
Overall, this risk is low, but it does exist. Most of the time, the pain-relieving benefits of narcotics far outweigh any risk of possible addiction. Your doctor will probably tell you this. Still, if it’s a concern for you, say so.
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