Delivering Pain Medication

Delivering Pain Medication

Medications will help control pain. There are many ways to take pain medications. For instance, you may use pills, patches, or a special pump. As you feel better, the way you take medications may change.

Pills and Tablets

Some medications are swallowed and others are allowed to dissolve in the mouth.

Patches and Suppositories

If you cannot take oral medications, a patch placed on the skin provides medication over a few days. Some medications are placed in the rectum.

IVs and PCA Pumps

With IV (intravenous) delivery, a catheter (small tube) sends medications into a vein in the hand or forearm. With a PCA (patient-controlled analgesia) pump, you push a button to receive a dose.


In some cases, injections are used for overall pain relief. Injections can also relieve pain in specific areas. For instance, a steroid injection into a joint can block joint pain. Or a nerve block might be used.

Regional Anesthesia

Regional anesthesia controls severe pain. Medications are delivered near the spinal cord. These methods (epidural or spinal) block pain in one section of the body, often from the waist down.

Will I Become Addicted?

Addiction becomes a behavior problem that may result from craving certain medications. This happens rarely to patients who are prescribed opiods. Addiction is very uncommon if these medications are used as directed. It is normal, though, for the body to get used to opioids. This is called physical dependence. You may feel shaky, for instance, if you stop treatment too quickly. To avoid this, you will be eased off opioids. This will be done when you no longer need them.