It can be an overwhelming to think about going to a pain management doctor. So most people will use medications the can get over-the-counter when trying to ease their chronic pain. And while this can work, the instructions have to be followed.
However, studies have found that the majority of those using OTC pain medications don’t and thus, put themselves at risk for other problems. One of the biggest concerns is an overdose, but there are risks of other side effects which can be serious as well. Some of those side effects include liver damage, stomach bleeding, ulcers or death.
A poll taken of 1,000 American adults with chronic pain, 30 years of age and older, that just under 45% admit they have taken more the OTC instructions recommend. Those OTC medications include acetaminophen and NSAIDs. This was without the guidance of a pain management doctor, choosing self-medicating instead.
Tolerable pain levels are different for everyone, but taking in excess of the recommended dosage of any OTC pain medication can cause significant complications and damage. Just as dangerous is combining NSAID pain relievers, which almost 40% of those polled, admitted to doing.
Any pain management doctor will tell you that patients with chronic use a higher dose of OTC pain relievers than is recommended by them or the manufacturer. The correlation between pain medication and overdosing isn’t something most patients make a connection until it is too late.
The same poll also found that just over 10 percent of the 66 percent with chronic pain had actually been diagnosed. That would me that many people trying to self-medicate their chronic pain with OTC medications instead of under the supervision of a pain management doctor.
Always Contact Your Doctor
The first thing you must realize when you are experiencing chronic pain, your symptoms won’t be like anyone else and nor will the cure be the same either. Each person is different in what their tolerance level is and there are other factors to consider as well.
So for anyone that is experiencing chronic pain, you should never hesitate to call your primary doctor. A short time of trying to self-medicate is understandable, but when it goes beyond 12 weeks, scheduling an appointment as soon as possible is a must. Depending on the circumstances, your primary doctor may feel that it is best to have you seen by a specialist in the area of the type of pain you’re having.