The main aim of pain medications is to provide symptom relief, to maintain or restore function of life and to improve quality of life. Pain may not be taken away completely with these medications, but your function and quality of life can improve even when you still have some pain present.
Pain medications often work best together with other pain strategies, like keeping active, and considering all the different aspects of your health.
If you do choose to use a medication, it is important to understand that they all work in different ways. Each medication might help some people but not others, and help some pains but not others. The more you learn about medications, the easier it will be to know which choice to make for your particular pain situation.
Start with simple medications including paracetamol and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac), these medications work better in combination than by themselves. Pain medications are best when they are taken before the pain gets bad.
Medications such as amitriptyline, duloxetine, pregabalin/gabapentin can help calm your nervous system and reduce the pain sensitisation and hyperalgesia. It is important to avoid opiate medications such as oxycodone and codeine.
Although they help in the short term, opioid medications (codeine, oxycodone, tapentadol etc) can make the pain worse in the long term because they sensitise the nervous system over time. They may also have associated issues, including dependence, tolerance, and addiction. They are entirely appropriate for the first couple of days after an operation, but best ceased early on after surgery if possible. There is information on how to recover well from a laparoscopy and minimise your need for opioids on this website. Your doctor can help you with further advice.
Duloxetine, venlafaxine and desvenlafaxine are antidepressant drugs with lots of potential to help people with pelvic pain. These drugs are special because they are considered serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). They increase the amount of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain and body which helps with anxiety and dampens the experience of pain…
Amitriptyline is one of the most useful medications for managing pelvic pain because it helps several different symptoms at once. It doesn’t suit everyone, but if you are someone with pain on most days, it often improves pain. Around 1 in every 2 people who try it find it helpful…
Narcotics (opioids) are a family of medications that include codeine, oxycodone, tramadol, tapentadol, morphine, buprenorphine, methadone, pethidine and heroin. Some narcotics are still made from poppies while others are made in a laboratory. In the short term opioids can cause nausea, vomiting and constipation, although if people can tolerate it, narcotics rarely cause problems and most people who stop within a few days…
Pregabalin & Gabapentin
Pregabalin and Gabapentin come from a family of medications called ‘anti-convulsant’. These medications affect how nerves send pain signals. Other drugs from this family of medications are used to treat epilepsy (fits), but pregabalin and gabapentin are used to treat pain…
Capsaicin Cream for Vulvadynia
Diazepam Suppositories for Pelvic Muscle Spasm
A diazepam suppository is a small white, waxy, bullet-shaped pellet that can be inserted in either the vagina or the bowel. It can help relax the muscles and settle flares of pelvic muscle spasms. They aren’t suitable for regular use, but can be useful for occasional bad days when you have a flare of pain…