A patient with chronic pain must discuss the nature of the pain with a pain-management doctor, such as one at a pain clinic, to determine which prescription medications, if any, are best to address the condition, explains WebMD. Examples of pain medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids and antidepressants.
When doctors recommend antidepressants to treat chronic pain, they usually prescribe them in lower doses than they do when prescribing them for depression, notes the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. Unlike some other pain medications, patients must take antidepressants consistently rather than on an as-needed basis, and these medications may cause undesirable side effects, such as dry mouth and sedation. Corticosteroids are typically reserved for the treatment of pain due to severe inflammatory conditions, states WebMD.
Depending on the origin and severity of the pain, a pain-management doctor may recommend other treatment options either instead of or in combination with drug therapy, explains the ASRA. Performing exercises under the supervision of a physical therapist is sometimes useful, as is the use of transcutaneous electro-nerve stimulator, or TENS, units to stimulate the nerves in the area where the patient feels the pain. Patients also sometimes receive relief from injections, examples of which include epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections and lumbar sympathetic nerve blocks.