How Is Pain Treated?
Antimigraine drugs include the triptans- sumatriptan (Imitrex®),
naratriptan (Amerge®), and zolmitriptan (Zomig®)-and are used specifically for
migraine headaches. They can have serious side effects in some people and
therefore, as with all prescription medicines, should be used only under a
Aspirin may be the most widely used pain-relief agent and has been
sold over the counter since 1905 as a treatment for fever, headache, and muscle
Biofeedback is used for the treatment of many common pain problems,
most notably headache and back pain. Using a special electronic machine, the
patient is trained to become aware of, to follow, and to gain control over
certain bodily functions, including muscle tension, heart rate, and skin
temperature. The individual can then learn to effect a change in his or her
responses to pain, for example, by using relaxation techniques. Biofeedback is
often used in combination with other treatment methods, generally without side
effects. Similarly, the use of relaxation techniques in the treatment of pain
can increase the patient's feeling of well-being.
is a chemical found in chili peppers that is also a primary
ingredient in pain-relieving creams (see Chili Peppers, Capsaicin, and Pain in
Chemonucleolysis is a treatment in which an enzyme, chymopapain, is
injected directly into a herniated lumbar disc (see Spine Basics in the
Appendix) in an effort to dissolve material around the disc, thus reducing
pressure and pain. The procedure's use is extremely limited, in part because
some patients may have a life-threatening allergic reaction to chymopapain.
Chiropractic refers to hand manipulation of the spine, usually for
relief of back pain, and is a treatment option that continues to grow in
popularity among many people who simply seek relief from back disorders. It has
never been without controversy, however. Chiropractic's usefulness as a
treatment for back pain is, for the most part, restricted to a select group of
individuals with uncomplicated acute low back pain who may derive relief from
the massage component of the therapy.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy involves a wide variety of coping skills
and relaxation methods to help prepare for and cope with pain. It is used for
postoperative pain, cancer pain, and the pain of childbirth.