How to cope with­out pain med­i­ca­tion

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Melissa Hui

The eco­nomic cost of pain in Aus­tralia is es­ti­mated at $34.3 bil­lion per year. It is the na­tion’s third most costly health prob­lem, af­ter car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and mus­cu­loskele­tal con­di­tions. The cost to the health sys­tem is ap­prox­i­mately $7 bil­lion per an­num. As of February 1st, 2018, any pain tablets con­tain­ing a mix­ture of codeine be­came pre­scrip­tion only. Since this re­quires a visit to a gen­eral prac­ti­tioner, many pa­tients are seek­ing al­ter­na­tive ways to man­age pain with­out codeine. As a Pro­fes­sional Ser­vices Phar­ma­cist, here are some sug­ges­tions on how you can man­age pain with­out codeine.

1. Seek ex­pert ad­vice from your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist.

While the codeine change re­quir­ing a pre­scrip­tion may be over­whelm­ing, your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist can as­sist you with the tran­si­tion to man­age pain with­out codeine. Some codeine and opi­oid med­i­ca­tion help re­duce strong pain sen­sa­tions, but they may not as­sist in the re­cov­ery or im­prove­ment of phys­i­cal func­tions.

Stud­ies have also shown long-term use of codeine and opi­oid med­i­ca­tion can in­crease a per­son’s sen­si­tiv­ity to pain, not pro­vide re­lief. It is im­por­tant to be hon­est about your symp­toms so cor­rect med­i­ca­tion is pre­scribed to man­age your dis­com­fort. Also, keep in mind every­one tol­er­ates and ex­pe­ri­ences pain dif­fer­ently. Be sure to have this con­ver­sa­tion with your phar­ma­cist or gen­eral prac­ti­tioner be­fore mak­ing rad­i­cal changes.

2. Pur­sue al­ter­na­tive reme­dies.

Tak­ing med­i­ca­tion by mouth is one op­tion for deal­ing with pain but there are other op­tions:

Anti-in­flam­ma­tory gets and rubs.

Depend­ing on the de­gree and type of pain, anti-in­flam­ma­tory gels, mus­cu­lar rubs, mas­sage oils and lin­i­ments can be al­ter­na­tives for pain man­age­ment.

Heat to re­lax mus­cles and in­crease cir­cu­la­tion.

Heat treat­ments are an­other sim­ple, ef­fec­tive way of re­liev­ing mus­cu­lar and joint pain. Pa­tients can use a hot wa­ter bot­tle, heat pack or elec­tric blan­ket to in­crease joint mo­bil­ity and re­lax mus­cles.

Al­ter­na­tive treat­ments.

Acupunc­ture and di­etary sup­ple­ments could also help with cer­tain types of pain. How­ever, talk with your gen­eral

Your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist can as­sist you to man­age pain with­out codeine.

prac­ti­tioner be­fore tak­ing any new sup­ple­ments or re­ceiv­ing al­ter­na­tive treat­ments.

3. Find the right ex­er­cise rou­tine for you.

If pa­tients take steps to im­prove their daily and phys­i­cal func­tions, it can pos­i­tively im­pact their over­all re­cov­ery from persistent pain. A daily rou­tine should in­clude gen­tle ex­er­cise, stress man­age­ment or phys­io­ther­apy. Less stren­u­ous ex­er­cise such as yoga and re­lax­ation ther­apy are good op­tions to be­gin with. An achiev­able ex­er­cise rou­tine com­bined with a per­son­alised pain man­age­ment plan can also help to re­duce symp­toms. Pa­tients can ac­cess more in­for­ma­tion about pain man­age­ment from their phar­ma­cist with pri­vate one-on-one con­sul­ta­tions, to as­sist pa­tients to un­der­stand and man­age their pain. While these tips may not work for every­one, those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing persistent pain need to ad­just to the changes in codeine avail­abil­ity, now only through pre­scrip­tion. Seek ex­pert ad­vice from your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist, look at al­ter­na­tive reme­dies and im­ple­ment­ing a daily ex­er­cise rou­tine is a start to a more com­fort­able way to man­age pain with­out codeine.

Melissa Hui, B.Pharm, is a qual­i­fied Phar­ma­cist with over 10 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in com­mu­nity phar­macy and is a Pro­fes­sional Ser­vices Phar­ma­cist for the Na­tional Dis­count Drug Stores Fran­chise Sup­port Of­fice.

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