Is there a limit on the time an individual can take pain relief?

In this video Fran interviews Dr Bernhard Frank who is a Pain consultant. The interview was filmed by Peter

Video transcript

Fran: Is there a limit on the time an individual can take pain relief?

Dr Bernhard Frank, Pain consultant: Again, the nerve pain medication all have quite a lot of side effects, so they need to be treated quite slowly and I would always see, you know, if they get 30% pain reduction, which will be my cut-off, to recommend the long term use of this medication. There’s always a balance between the benefits you get from this medication and what you want to put up with the side effects. But I think 30% is quite good guides because that’s what normally placebo responses generate as well in clinical trials. And then, you know, I think good practice is to review medications every year or so, you know, if they’re still fulfilling the purpose you have patients put on to these drugs. And they are not tablets who work on everybody, so you need find out which type of anti-nerve pain medication works with individual patients in front of you and don’t continue with it if it doesn’t actually work. I think that’s the main guidance on over-use.

Fran: I have fairly excruciating pain in my right hip and knee. I’ve tried pain relief, I’ve tried some natural forms of pain relief, is there anything else that you would advise?

Dr Bernhard Frank: Again, like I said in the beginning, there is different types of pain, so this kind of pain could be arthritic, you know, because the muscles around the hips and the knees have been weakened and then the arthrosis or the arthritis in the different joints have been accelerated because of the weakness, and then the treatment would be again physiotherapy and I probably would like to try a small amount of strong painkillers, taking side effects like constipation in mind, but that can be quite effective in this type of what we call nociceptive pain, against you know, a nerve pain. But on the other hand, you know, if you have got some damage in the spinal cord which looks after this area of your hip and knee, it could be neuropathic pain, and again, it could be quite important to make the appropriate diagnosis because for the nerve pain I would then use different medications and not necessarily opiates in the first place.

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