Medication for Pain

Medication for Pain

Medications can block pain, prevent swelling, and treat related problems. More than one medication may be used. Medications may be changed as you feel better, or if they cause side effects.


What They Do

Possible Side Effects

Non-opiod NSAIDs, aspirin, acetaminophen

Reduces pain chemicals at the site of pain. May reduce joint and soft tissue inflammation.

Nausea, stomach pain, ulcers, indigestion, diarrhea, bleeding, kidney or liver problems.

Opioids (morphine and similar medications)

Removes feelings or perception of pain. Used for moderate to severe pain.

Nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, constipation, slowed breathing.

Other Medications (corticosteroids, antinausea, antidepressant, and antiseizure medications)

Reduces swelling, burning or tingling pain or limits certain side effects of pain medications such as nausea or vomiting.

Your health care provider will explain the possible side effects of these medications.

Anesthetics (local, injected, inhaled) includes lodocaine, benzocaine, and medications used by anesthesiologists

Stops pain signals from reaching the brain by blocking all feeling in the treated area.

Nausea, low blood pressure, fever, slowed breathing, fainting, seizures, heart attack.

When to Call the Health Care Provider

Call your health care provider right away (or have a family member call) if you have:

  • Unrelieved pain

  • Side effects, including constipation or uncontrolled nausea, that interfere with daily activities

If you have extreme sleepiness or breathing problems, call 911.