Opioid painkillers can be very helpful for short term pain—like the day after surgery or the first couple days after a broken bone. But in most cases, opioid painkillers, like OxyContin and Vicodin, do not work very well with pain that lasts longer than a few days. Joint pain, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, headaches and stomach pain are examples of challenging conditions that are not helped much—or at all—by opioid painkillers.
Plus, using opioids for longer than a few days to a few weeks can cause unpleasant side effects and increase the risk of addiction. Other kinds of medicine or approaches to pain management that do not involve drugs are usually better choices in these situations.
Exercise, lifestyle changes, behavioral therapy, acupuncture, and massage can significantly reduce pain and make it easier for you to complete your daily activities.
Talk to your doctor
If you’re struggling with chronic pain, talk to your doctor about options. In many cases, there are choices that may work as well or better than opioids, but without the risks of side effects and addiction.