4 Side Effects and Tips For Pain Meds
4 Side Effects and Tips For Pain Meds – The side effects to medication can be very unpleasant, but when your faced with chronic pain the medication becomes a necessity. Most pain medications can cause these 4 side effects; extreme fatigue, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, and some other serious side effects if your body can not tolerate it correctly. No wonder why we can feel miserable on top of hurting all the time. When we are first faced with illness it becomes a game or trial and error, seeing which ones are going to help us and which ones are not going to work for us.
When I was first diagnosed, I felt like a walking guinea pig. For the first year I was in so much pain and I became so sick because of the different medication. It seems like any medication I tried, I had the rare side effects that were listed in the tiny print. I was desperate for pain relief, but most of the medication was just too hard on stomach or caused some crazy side effects.
My husband became laid off during that time and had to help me do even the littlest of things. I could no longer drive and sometimes the pain was so severe he had to help me get to the bathroom, help me shower, take care of the kids needs, bring me to all my doctor appointments, the cooking and cleaning, and the list goes on.
I’m very thankful for him and I’m also very lucky I found a good Pain Management Doctor that worked with me to finally find a regimen that helped. I say lucky because, I have heard some pretty bad stories about doctors not listening to their patients. My husband returned to work after a year and a half and most days I’m self-sufficient (there are things I still can not do, but that’s the nature of my condition).
So what happens when we find a medication that helps lower our pain, but causes the less serious side effects?
Here are some tips that I have found helpful through my bumpy ride:
For Fatigue: First off fatigue can be caused by many things. Such as insufficient sleep, too much sleep, under eating, thyroid problems, depression, or other illnesses (such as Anemia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and many others), dehydration, overexertion, even an unhealthy diet. Also, extreme fatigue like the kind I experienced where you fall asleep eating dinner is sign you need to contact your doctor immediately! If this is something that is happening because you started a new medicine then your doctor may cut back your dose or even switch your medication. If you’re getting just kind of sleepy from side effects from your medication and its working well for you, then there are things that may help when the coffee isn’t cutting it anymore.
- Like Vitamin B12 or a Vitamin B Complex. Coenzyme Q10 can also help to boost your energy level. When starting any new vitamin or supplement it is good to put a call into your doctor to make sure the medications you’re on, has no interactions with vitamins or supplements.
- No caffeine 5 hours before bed.
- Another thing to try is adding or changing up your diet with super-foods. Some of the top super-foods are: Beans, Blueberries, Broccoli, Oats, Oranges, Pumpkin, Salmon, Soy, Spinach, Tea (green or black), Tomatoes, Walnuts, even Yogurt. Why are these super-foods? Because they are loaded with things that are great for us. 🙂
For Nausea: If vomiting is violent or persists for more than 24 hours or if your vomit contains blood or even looks like coffee grounds, see a physician immediately! If you’re just sick to your stomach, then these ideas may help.
- Try a cold compress. Heat can contribute to nausea, especially if your body starts to overheat. Use a cold compress to cool your forehead or even the back of the neck.
- Trying chewing peppermint gum, peppermint soothes the stomach.
- Peppermint essential oil and DiGize oil works fantastic for this! Make sure it’s pure oil from a reputable place like Young Living Oils: https://www.youngliving.org/657228 you just add a few drops and rub it in on your stomach.
- Get a fan going and circulate the air, the breeze may be enough to shew away the feeling.
- Try eating some saltine crackers, it may be your medication should be taken with food and when taken on an empty stomach nausea will creep in.
- If all else falls there are medications your doctor can prescribe or over the counter medication that may help with this.
For Constipation: Many pain medications have this side effect. Why? Because they are known to dry the bowels. Cool fact: Many types of fiber within the intestine bind to water and keep the water within the intestine. The fiber adds bulk (volume) to the stool and the water softens the stool.
- I’m sure most of you have heard, the best way of helping with constipation is by adding fiber to your diet. You can do this by increasing the quantity of fruits and vegetables that are eaten. This means a minimum of five servings of fruits or vegetables every day.
- Increasing your water intake can help.
- There are also many over the counter stool softeners available some gentler than others.
- If all else fails talking to your doctor can help, they can prescribe special medication for Opioid Constipation.
For Dry Mouth: Here is another side effect of our lovely pain medications. The dreaded Dry mouth… seems like the more you drink it becomes dryer..ugh. Here are some tips I have found that helps with this.
- Taking a calcium supplement is very important because if your mouth is drying out, you’re not getting the saliva production needed to protect your teeth (please ask your doctor if it’s okay to take with your current medication).
- Chew gum or suck on hard candy can also increase the saliva flow inside your mouth. Choose sugar-free gum and candy to protect your teeth from cavities.
- There are also many products like Biotene that makes gum, mouthwash, and tooth paste. I have many people tell me how wonderful their products are and how impressed they were with them. Here is a link to their site with coupons: http://www.biotene.com/
- Your doctor or even your dentist can also prescribe medication if nothing else works.
Hopefully, these ideas will help keep the side effects at bay, but what works for me may not work for everyone. Good communication with your doctor is key to finding a more comfortable experience and life. We may never be pain-free and we may still have bad days, but for the in between days your doctor needs to continue to try to find some relief for you and if they don’t you may want to start looking for a doctor that will.
Keeping a pain journal is key to monitoring your side effects, you can also see my earlier post for lots more information Helpful Reminders For Doctor’s Visits.