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Pain Management - Following a Treatment Plan

The best way to control your pain is to follow your treatment plan and give it time to work.

Some treatments may take a few days or weeks to improve your pain. You and your doctor can talk about how long you should stay on a medicine or other treatment.

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On the night of March 28, 1986, Howard Heit's car was struck in a head-on collision. He left the scene of the serious crash thinking how lucky he was that he hadn't been hurt. "And then four to six weeks later, I started noticing twitches in the muscles of my neck and upper back. These progressed to marked spasms of my neck, shoulders, and upper back," he recalls. The pain never ceased. All day, every day it plagued him. It became difficult for him to walk -- and almost impossible for him to work...

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It's very important to take your medicines exactly as your doctor prescribes. Following your doctor's advice will help you get the right amount of medicine with as few side effects as possible. It also will help you and your doctor know if a medicine is working for you.

Make sure to tell your doctor about any medicines or herbal supplements you take. Your other medicines and supplements could mix in a bad way with your pain medicines. This could keep the pain medicine from working as well as it could.

Don't wait for pain to get bad

Make the most of your pain medicines by following these rules:

  • Take them on time (by the clock).
  • Do not skip a dose or wait until you think you need it.
  • Be prepared for breakthrough pain. You may find that taking your medicine works most of the time but that your pain flares up during extra activity or even for no clear reason. These flare-ups are called breakthrough pain. Your doctor can give you a prescription for fast-acting medicines that you can take for breakthrough pain.
  • If you have more than one doctor, pick one doctor to be in charge of all your medicines. If more than one doctor prescribes pain medicine, make sure they talk to each other about it.

Learn more about:

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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