Everything your pharmacist wants you to know about proper pain management

Throughout our lives, most of us have had pain from time to time – from headaches to toothaches. Others have pain on a regular basis, which is chronic and requires long-term treatment. Your pharmacist is a great source of information regarding pain management choices.

As well, some over the counter medications can be toxic at levels just above recommended doses. For example, acetaminophen is found in hundreds of different over the counter and prescription medications in Canada, for cold and pain relief. Thousands of Canadians are hospitalized each year or undergo liver transplants due to acetaminophen overdoses. As such, accidental overdoses can be avoided if consumers seek medical advice.

This is where your pharmacist is an invaluable source of information. Not only is your pharmacist easily accessible, as a drug expert, they know your prescription medications and potential drug interactions. Consumers have this perception that if a product is available over the counter, it must be safe. Unfortunately, they are aware that some ingredients may be duplicated if they are taking multiple products.

Other over the counter medications like ibuprofen and naproxen also have interactions and side effects that are potentially harmful.  They can increase risk of heart issues, gastrointestinal bleeding or kidney failure.  So what are your other options?

Pain is often caused by inflammation.  A topical anti-inflammatory cream can stop that process with less adverse effects and interactions.  Some pharmacists can even prescribe topical medications that would be covered by your drug plan.

Other over the counter products like probiotics, which are live bacteria supplements, can also decrease inflammation, especially with patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. 

The importance of stress reduction cannot be overemphasized. Try yoga, meditation or deep breathing, anything that rests your mind.  Talk to your pharmacist about all options, whether it be medication or lifestyle changes, that are safe and may be effective in helping you manage pain and enjoy your life.

For more information and to find a location near you, visit The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy.