Prescription pain medicationWhat is it and why your pain specialist's choices matter

Learn why your pain specialist’s choices matter in your care, and how treating chronic pain goes beyond just pain medication to include things like exercise, changing habits, and other helpful treatments.

prescription pain medication Perth Dr Reza Feizerfan
Table of Contents

Rethinking pain relief: “It’s more than just medication”

Let’s address the elephant in the room: In dealing with long-term pain, we don’t just rely on painkillers. Yes, we do use different pain medicines, but treating pain is about more than just handing out pills. Our goal is to manage pain in a way that looks at the whole situation, not just the pain itself. Often, exercise, changing lifestyle habits, and other helpful treatments are part of your treatment plan.

“When it comes to prescribing pain medication, we determine which one you need based on the diagnosis, how previous treatments worked, and what you hope to achieve, like better sleep, walking longer, or less pain. It’s about considering many different factors.”

Dr Reza Feizerfan
Dr Reza Feizerfan

Based on these factors, we might recommend pain relievers like paracetamol, anti-inflammatories, or opioids, as well as prescription medicine for nerve pain (such as certain anti-seizure or antidepressant drugs), or other supportive pain medications to help manage discomfort.

Sometimes there is no easy fix for chronic pain, and sometimes what patients expect isn’t what we believe is best for them. In such cases, we offer guidance on other options and still recommend what we think is best, while also suggesting they get a second opinion from other specialists. 

“The problem with some prescription pain medication, especially opioids, is that they can make you dependent.” 

Dr Reza Feizerfan
Dr Reza Feizerfan

Why opioids are not always the answer

As pain management specialists here in Perth, we often find ourselves in a challenging position when it comes to prescribing opioids. While these medications can be effective for short-term relief, the long-term consequences cannot be ignored.

“Even when there’s a push for quick solutions, it’s key for a responsible pain specialist to look at the bigger effects of using opioids. Remember, the concerns go beyond just the risk of addiction to opioids.” 

Dr Reza Feizerfan
Dr Reza Feizerfan

The risks of long-term opioid-use include:

  • Tolerance: The more you use opioids, the more your body gets used to them, requiring higher doses to achieve the same pain relief.
  • Dependency and addiction: Regular use can lead to physical dependence, and for some, a dangerous slide into addiction.
  • Osteoporosis: Prolonged opioid use can weaken your bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.
  • Hormonal changes: Opioids can disrupt your body’s hormone balance, affecting everything from mood to metabolism.
  • Mood effects: These drugs can have a profound negative impact on your mood and overall mental health.
  • Respiratory depression: Opioids can slow your breathing, which in severe cases, can be life-threatening.
  • Immune system: Regular use can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections.
  • Cognitive impact: Opioids can affect your ability to think, concentrate, and remember.
  • Hyperalgesia: Ironically, long-term use can make you more sensitive to pain, a condition known as opioid-induced hyperalgesia.
  • Dangerous interactions: Mixing opioids with other medications can lead to severe, even fatal, reactions.

From our perspective, the decision not to prescribe opioids isn’t about being the “bad guys”. What we will explain to you during consultation, is that managing chronic pain involves more than just medication. We might suggest physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and alternative treatments.

“As your pain specialist, my role is to guide you through this complex landscape, making informed decisions that protect your health now and in the future. It’s about prioritising your long-term health and wellbeing.” 

Dr Reza Feizerfan
Dr Reza Feizerfan

In situations where opioids seem like the only solution, it’s crucial to weigh their benefits against the potential harm.

What conditions can benefit from prescription pain medication?

prescription pain medication Perth Dr Reza Feizerfan

When considering pain management, it’s important to understand that not all pain is the same. Different types of pain require different approaches to treatment. By classifying pain into categories, we can better tailor our approach to your personal needs.

Here are the main types of pain and examples of conditions that may benefit from prescription pain medication:

  • Nociceptive pain: Comes from tissue damage. Common examples are arthritis and muscular pain, where inflammation and injury cause discomfort.
  • Neuropathic pain: Results from nervous system damage. Conditions like sciatica, peripheral neuropathic pain, and shingles fall into this category.
  • Nociplastic pain: Arises without clear tissue damage or nervous system issues, seen in conditions like fibromyalgia, where widespread pain and fatigue are prevalent.

Determining the best pain treatment plan begins with a comprehensive evaluation. At Pain Specialists WA, we will need a full history to understand your background, including previous health issues and treatments.

This step is crucial as it informs us about your unique situation and how your pain affects your daily life. After that, a careful check-up and any needed tests help us figure out exactly what’s wrong.

Based on the diagnosis, we then consider how you have responded to any treatments you have tried in the past. It’s also essential to understand your goals and expectations, whether you’re looking to improve sleep, increase mobility, or be able to complete tasks that have become difficult.

“The choice of prescription pain medication is based on these factors to make sure the treatment really fits you and does more than just treat the symptoms. At Pains Specialists WA, our aim is to see the whole picture and work towards improving your quality of life.”

Dr Reza Feizerfan
Dr Reza Feizerfan

To help you improve your ability to move and be active, we gradually increase what you can do. For instance, we might recommend you take an anti-inflammatory drug about an hour before your physiotherapy session, making the exercises easier to perform. Or if you experience stiffness or soreness after physiotherapy, we could suggest strategies to help you get over the ache after exercises.

This approach ensures that discomfort doesn’t prevent you from attending your regular physio sessions, helping you progress steadily. 

Pain Specialists WA: How we help with your pain

When dealing with chronic pain, at Pain Specialists WA we aim to give recommendations that help you do everyday tasks more easily. We keep checking to see if our treatment plan, including the medicines we suggest, is working for you. If things aren’t improving, we’re ready to change the dose, try a new medicine, or think about new goals and new strategies.

Your thoughts and questions are really important to us. We’re here to listen and make sure you get the answers and support you need, making your treatment as effective and comfortable as possible.

To make a (follow-up) appointment, please contact our friendly team.