A pharmacist’s guide to managing pain without codeine
Australians suffering from persistent pain can be forced to spend up to $11,000 each year on medical bills, management costs, and medications to treat their condition. With codeine becoming prescription only from February 1, 2018, people are now looking for new ways to manage their persistent pain. The good news? There’s plenty of drug-free ways to dilute pain. Discount Drug Stores’ pharmacist, Melissa Hui, shares her simple tips for better pain management.
Use alternative remedies
There are a range of simpler methods to treat pain and find quick relief beyond taking medication. “Anti-inflammatory gels, muscular rubs, massage oils, and liniments can be a good alternative for relief, dependent on the measure of pain,” says Ms Hui.
Like it hot?
“Heat treatments can provide simple and effective relief for muscular and joint pain. I would recommend using a hot water bottle, heat pack, or electric blanket to increase joint mobility and relax muscles,” says Ms Hui.
Ease the pain with exercise
Chronic pain currently impacts an estimated 20 percent of Australian adults, and many of those suffering go undiagnosed and instead learn to live with the persistent pain. Choosing to improve your daily movement is essential for recovery from persistent pain, as it switches your focus both mentally and physically. “A multi-modal approach to your daily routine including gentle exercise, stress management, or physiotherapy can assist with treatment,” Ms Hui tells us.
Switch up your diet
Diet can be incredibly powerful for decreasing both acute and chronic pain. Diet can also be a contributing factor to pain. When blood sugar levels are higher than desired, advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are formed. These molecules lead to brittleness of tissues (like spinal discs, nerves, and tendons) and activation of inflammation, which can all lead to pain. So, what should you be eating? A diet rich in both nonstarchy vegetables and omega-3s.
Seek expert advice
If pain starts to become persistent or difficult to manage, the next step is to seek expert advice from health professionals. “Everyone tolerates and experiences pain differently, so it is important to discuss symptoms with your pharmacist or doctor before taking any drastic action,” recommends Ms Hui. “Always be honest about any concerns to ensure the doctor or pharmacist can provide you with the best possible pain treatment strategy to reduce your symptoms as soon as possible.”
Discount Drug Stores was the first pharmacy brand to offer a national program for pain management, which provides patients a personalised care plan, tailored to individual pain concerns. Launched in 2017, the program consists of one-on-one 15-minute consultations to help patients understand their pain and how to best manage their symptoms. For more information on how to best manage your pain, visit Discount Drug Stores.