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Common Myths About Pain Medications

Chronic pain is long-lasting pain due to a condition that can't be cured or easily treated. In many cases, the underlying cause of chronic pain cannot be clearly found.Being in pain can be exhausting. It can affect your ability to eat, sleep, or just do day-to-day tasks. Pain medications can help relieve some of your pain and make daily life easier. They are likely to be part of your treatment for chronic pain. Below are some common myths about pain medications.

Man sitting at desk talking to health care provider. Talk to doctor if you have any concerns about taking pain medications.

Myth: Medications will cure my pain.

Fact: Medications can help control chronic pain, but they rarely cure it.

Myth: If my usual dose helps a little, a larger dose will help a lot.

Fact: Taking a larger dose of medication may be dangerous, even fatal . If you feel that you need to increase your dose, consult your healthcare provider.

Myth: I shouldn't take medication unless I'm in severe pain.

Fact: Preventing pain is easier than treating it once it has begun. You may even need less medicine. For best results, take pain medication on schedule.

Myth: Taking pain pills means I'm weak.

Fact: Feeling pain is not a moral failing. It is a medical problem. Taking medication can help you get more out of your other treatments and allow you to participate in more things.

Myth: I'll get addicted.

Fact: Addiction means severe changes in your behavior. Addiction to opioid pain medications like morphine and oxycodone is fairly uncommon. Addiction to non-opioid pain medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen doesn't happen. Long-term use of opioid pain medications may lead to increased tolerance (needing to take more for the same effect). Or it may cause physical dependence. This means that to avoid withdrawal, you'll need to "taper off" if you and your doctor decide to stop the medication. Tolerance and dependence are normal responses to opioid pain medications and are not the same as addiction .

© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.