As part of a multidisciplinary approach, medication therapy can be used in conjunction with other modalities for all pain management. Our initial approach is to prescribe conservative medications with little-to-no side effects; these include NSAIDS, muscle relaxants, neuropathic pain medications, pain patches and ointments.
If conservative medical approaches fail, and a patient continues to suffer from debilitating pain, then opioid medications (powerful “painkillers”) can be used in proportion with a physical exam and diagnostic studies. Many times, these medications are overprescribed and tend to be more harmful than beneficial. The prescriptions need to be monitored closely – usually on a monthly basis to assess the benefits, side effects and usage. Opioids include tramadol, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl patch, Butrans Patch and methadone.
The legalization of medicinal marijuana in New York State is expected to be completed very soon. Research of medicinal marijuana is lacking for patients with chronic, non cancer-related pain. However, for cancer pain, marijuana therapy has shown positive outcomes in recent literature for improving quality of life.