When you are in serious pain, all you can think about is finding relief. But relieving pain, whether acute or chronic, requires a well-thought-out, comprehensive treatment plan that takes into account your overall health. Talk to your doctor about how to relieve your pain in the most effective way, while avoiding negative side effects.

Losing Sleep

Persistent pain doesn’t stop when the lights go out, and can result in disrupted sleep. If your pain is so severe that it is preventing you from falling asleep, it is important to talk to your doctor and develop a treatment plan that both alleviates your pain and promotes a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation is a serious health problem; it can cause mental and physical problems and increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.

Addiction and Abuse

Sometimes the most effective treatment for pain involves the use of prescription medications from a family of drugs called opioids (also called narcotics). Some of the most prescribed types of opioids are codeine, oxycodone, and morphine. Opioids can be effective in managing moderate to severe pain, but they can be addictive if taken for a long period of time and/or without medical supervision. For this reason, opioids are usually only prescribed for short-term pain relief, most often following surgery or injury, and not for chronic pain. It is important to only take opioids as prescribed by your doctor, as they are prone to misuse and abuse.


Constant pain can be emotionally and physically draining. It can be especially defeating if you have tried several treatment methods and your pain persists. For this reason, depression is one of the most common emotional responses to chronic pain. Depression can also exacerbate pain and interfere with the treatment methods. The American Pain Foundation notes that of the 32 million people in the U.S. that report chronic pain lasting more than a year, approximately half are also depressed. Don’t give up on treating your pain, and be sure to talk to your doctor about how you are feeling both physically and emotionally.