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    Chronic Pain Relief: New Treatments

    Pain Shots continued...

    Trigger point injections work on tight spots in muscles. Sometimes, these spots are so tight they squeeze nerves and lead to pain in other places.

    Shots may not take the hurt away completely, Gupta says.

    “The benefits can last from 4 weeks to 1 year, depending on the type of pain, the source of the pain, and how advanced the problem is,” she says. You may need a series of shots for the results to last.

    For longer-lasting relief, a doctor may suggest a pain pump, says Stuart Finkelstein, MD, an addiction and pain expert in Lakewood, CA. The pump is implanted, usually near the base of the spine. It delivers a slow drip of medication. Your doctor will set up the pump so the medicine is released automatically.

    Opioids

    Doctors can prescribe these powerful meds for chronic pain. They block or reduce pain signals. Common ones include:

    Some opioids have been around for centuries. Others have been made in the past few decades.

    They’re very effective for severe pain. But they also have side effects that can include:

    • Drowsiness
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Confusion
    • Dizziness
    • Constipation

    More-serious side effects are possible, such as:

    Opioids can also make some people stop breathing and die. That's a risk especially when the dosage is higher or when someone uses them with other drugs or alcohol.

    It’s also not clear if these meds are helpful after a few months. Addiction is common among people who take them long-term. One of the safest ones is buprenorphine, Finkelstein says. It blocks pain like other opioids, but its effects taper off at higher doses. So, it's less addictive.

    Sometimes doctors use buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction.

    Researchers are studying new types of these meds with fewer side effects and potentially less chance of addiction.

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