Safely managing pain after an injury

Injuries are a part of life. From the time we can crawl and roll around we’re bumping into things, scraping our knees and getting cuts. While some injuries are minor, others are severe.

Luckily, modern day medicine and technology is able to heal many injuries, even ones that were considered life threatening not that long ago. But the pain caused by a serious injury can linger long after, prolonging the recovery. Some people end up with chronic pain that they have to deal with for years.

How you manage pain is part of the recovery process. One of the most common pain management methods is the use of painkillers. There’s a huge variety of painkillers, some of which are available over-the-counter and others that are powerful prescription-only opioids.

While they are highly effective, painkillers come with their own health risks. If you’re recovering from an injury, you’ll need to take safety measures to ensure your pain is safely managed.

Safety Rule#1 – Seek Medical Advice Over Self Medication


The experts at HARP Palm Beach rehab center stress the importance of discussing pain management with a medical professional. Cases of painkiller addiction often involve an individual who self-medicates rather than seeking medical advice.

If over-the-counter medication or the prescription drugs your doctor prescribed is not adequately relieving your pain, speak up. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss:

  • The pain that you’re experiencing.
  • The medications and doses you are currently taking.
  • If anything makes your pain better or worse.
  • If there are certain times of the day or activities when pain begins.
  • Any other side effects or health issues you’re experiencing.

After a physical exam, your doctor can determine the best medication, dosage and frequency for pharmaceutical pain relief. Follow their directions exactly to avoid any potential negative side effects.

Safety Rule #2 – Always Read the Directions and Warnings


Pain medications should only be used as directed, but far too often people will take painkillers without reading the label. By law each pain medication bottle has to provide information on proper dosage and warnings. However, users don’t read them and end up creating bigger health problems.

For example, one of the most common painkiller mistakes is taking NSAIDs while also taking blood thinners. People simply don’t realize the two shouldn’t be mixed together, but doing so increases the risk of a heart attack and stroke.

If you’re having difficulty concentrating due to the pain or your injury, have someone help administer your medication. That way you have an extra set of eyes to make sure you don’t miss important information.

Safety Rule #3 – Reduce Pain Medication Use Little by Little

Acute pain in a woman wrist

It’s best to start weaning yourself off of pain medications as quickly as possible. As you recover, start reducing both the dosage and frequency of pain medications.

Also, avoid taking painkillers in anticipation of having discomfort. Some people will take pain medications before going to the gym or a certain activity because they believe it will result in pain. You should only take the painkillers when you’re feeling pain. The one exception to this rule would be patients with serious illnesses that produce chronic pain like cancer.

Safety Rule #4 – Use Complimentary Pain Management Methods

Pain medications aren’t the only way to relieve discomfort after an injury. Studies have shown that the following complimentary therapies also relieve pain:


  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Exercise
  • Stretching

The complimentary therapies above also provide the benefits of stress-relief and improve your overall physical health.

Safety Rule #5 – Follow the Doctors Orders Regarding Physical Activity

Patient at the physiotherapy - massage

After an injury your doctor should provide details on what you should and shouldn’t do during recovery to avoid further injuring yourself or slowing the process. Following their instructions is extremely important.

People often rush things and try to do too much too fast. They want to get back to normal so much they forget that the injury was a significant setback, and it’s going to take time to heal. The opposite can also be true. Some people are overly cautious and fail to get the recommended physical activity.

If your injury requires physical therapy, stick with the program. It can be time-consuming, painful and cumbersome but ultimately physical therapy will help you get stronger and healthier.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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