The first pain reliever that we’re going to give you information about is Oxycodone. Oxycodone is used most commonly as an around-the-clock treatment for patients with moderate to severe pain that lasts for a lengthened period of time. It is only available to be taken as a tablet. Oxycodone can be used to relieve a wide variety of pains, with causes such as osteoarthritis and forms of cancer.
With a pain reliever as potent as Oxycodone, there are a plethora of possible side effects that you could encounter. Here are a few of the more common examples; chills, cold sweats, confusion, difficult or labored breathing, dizziness, faintness or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position, fever, tightness in the chest, and twitching. If those aren't bad enough, some of the rarer side effects include bloating or swelling of appendages, blood in the urine, chest pain, and a decrease in the frequency of urination. If you’re already taking Oxycodone and experience any of these side effects, reach out to your doctor as soon as they occur.
The second pain reliever to be wary of is Hydrocodone. Hydrocodone- which, when combined with acetaminophen, becomes Vicodin- is used to treat moderate to severe pain resulting from a chronic condition, like different forms of arthritis, cancer, injury, or surgical procedure. All of which are common in folks that are around retirement age or older. Hydrocodone is available as an oral syrup and oral tablet.
Hydrocodone, much like other opioids, can be a highly addictive drug if not used exactly as prescribed by your physician. Another reason to avoid Hydrocodone is the potential side effects. Some of the more common side effects include; stomach pain, dry mouth, tiredness, headaches, back pain, muscle tightening, ringing in the ears, and uncontrollable shaking of a body part. Rarer but more severe side effects include; chest pain, agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, confusion, fast heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The third pain reliever to avoid would be Codeine, it isn't as dangerous as Oxycodone, or Hydrocodone, but can share the addictive traits. Prolonged or reckless use will cause you to develop an addiction. Codeine is a natural opiate that is a frequently prescribed pain reliever. The effects only last for a couple of hours, so it is often prescribed along with aspirin or acetaminophen. Codeine is accessible as a tablet, capsule, or liquid.
Common side effects may include bloating, blurred vision, cold clammy skin, confusion, constipation, darkened urine, difficult or troubled breathing, dizziness, fainting, fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse, irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing, no blood pressure or pulse, and no breathing. Others may be pale or blue lips, fingernails or skin, redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest. If any of these symptoms occur, you should contact your doctor.
Most people at least know someone who is taking opioids, and 130 people a day die because of an opioid overdose. While the risk is significantly reduced by the proper use of medication, it’s essential to recognize the symptoms of an overdose. Symptoms may include shallow, slowed, or stopped breathing, confusion, lessened alertness, and loss of consciousness, and people may experience small pupils, unresponsiveness, or blue skin from poor circulation. It’s imperative that you call 911 immediately if you think someone may be experiencing an opioid overdose.
With how dangerous pain relievers can be your physician should seek out alternative medications or tactics to relieve pain or make you feel better. There are a lot of different options out there for you to try.
Physical therapy is an excellent option for chronic pain. It can help you to be able to move without pain, or learn how to move in different ways that don't aggravate pre-existing conditions. Some techniques include, “massage, manipulation of joints and bones, manual therapy using hands or tools on soft tissue, cold laser therapy to alleviate inflammation and pain and release endorphins, and microcurrent stimulation, which emits alpha waves into the brain and increases serotonin and dopamine to alleviate pain naturally.” A physical therapist will be able to spend more time with you than a standard doctor, and make a detailed and individualized plan to help with pain management for a variety of different circumstances. Visiting an acupuncturist can also help relieve moderate to severe pain and keep you away from pain relievers. Acupuncture is especially useful in creating long term pain, especially neck and back pain, and osteoarthritis. The insertion of acupuncture needles in certain places can interrupt pain signals. While it doesn’t cure diseases, many people do think that it makes their pain symptoms better, and it can be used as one facet of a pain management plan. If those options don't work, you could also consider non-opioid medications. Acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, for example, can have some pain managing effect. Finally, taking care of yourself with relaxation, exercise, and healthy habits can work wonders.
If you’re considering taking opioids, like with all medical decisions, it’s crucial that you make an informed decision with the guidance of a doctor. There are circumstances where you have to take the most potent medication available to improve your quality of life, but it’s always a good idea to look into all of your options, and sometimes to try different things to make sure that you’re in the best health possible.