Literature Review Pain Management

LiteratureReview: Pain Management

LiteratureReview: Pain Management

Innursing, palliative care is the provision of health attention with afocus on preventing or managing thepain of a patient. Inherently,this approach is usually recommended for individuals that arediagnosed with terminal illnesses characterized by immense pain suchas cancer. In clinical practice, one of the most common means ofmanaging ache in patients is the prescription of pain managementdrugs such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines. Inessence, the use of pharmacological agents to manage pain has beenin use in health care for many years however, various literatureshave ascertained that the long-term application of certain painmanagement drugs results in different side effects, which, sometimes,might be severe. Fundamentally, this paper reviews diverseliteratures that discuss the side effects of pain management drugs,as well as suitable alternatives.


Prevalentresearch shows that drugs are the most common option for managingpain in medical institutions. Examples are non-steroidalanti-inflammatory agents, painkillers such as aspirin, acetaminophen,and antidepressants among others. Although non-steroidalanti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective for relieving pain,inflammation, and fever, they have a variety of side effects that maydiffer in people (Ferriolo&ampConlon, 2012). Correspondingly,the most common side effects of these pharmacological agents includestomach upsets, indigestion, and stomach pain in severe cases. Othereffects are gastro intestinal ulcers and renal impairment. Similarly,when painkillers are used for a long time or abused, they elicit anumber of unpleasant side effects in the user. Mild effects arevomiting, nausea, and diarrhea these all result from the interactionof the drugs with the opioid receptors that are found in thedigestive tracts of those individuals. Besides, aspirin has beenfound to elicit nausea, as well as a severe redness of the eyes inindividuals who are below 20 years. Another serious side effect ofthe use of pain management drugs is dependence when people use themedicines for a long time, they experience withdrawal effects such asgastrointestinal discomfort and nausea when they do not use them.

Kauppinen-Räisänenet al. (2012) explain that pain-relieving analgesics comprise thelargest growing OTC products in the markets. With the changinghealthcare market, more people are expected to take charge of theirhealth, which has increased the rate of self-medication. According toTurek and Owczarek (2014), painkillers and anti-inflammatorymedicines belong to a category known as over the counter (OTC) drugs,which comprise pharmacological agents that can be sold to someonewithout a prescription. Consequently, the unregulated purchase anduse of OTCs has facilitated the recent upsurge of the side effects ofpain management drugs. Intrinsically, the aforementioned side effectsoften result from the long-term use of over the counter (OTC)painkillers and OTC non-inflammatory drugs.Fischer,Jones, and Rehm (2014) also note that the use of OTC pain reliefmedication has escalated to dangerous levels within Canada. Ineffect, they stress the need for pain relieving interventions thatwill replace the pharmaceutical agents hence, containing thesituation.

Notably,there are alternatives to the pharmacological relief of pain.Ferrioloand Conlon (2012) point out that techniques such as acupuncture andmassage therapy have been shown to be effective at relieving backpain. Additionally, spinal manipulation is also moderately effectiveat managing both chronic and mild back pain. In this regard, Ferrioloand Conlon (2012) recommend them as alternatives to the more commonOTC painkillers and OTC non-inflammatory agents. Nevertheless, theyexplain that the cost-effectiveness of these methods has not beendefined yet hence, these options are not usually regarded asfirst-line measures.

Fundamentally,physical and behavioral therapy are good substitutes for painmanagement drugs as they do not induce dependence or other sideeffects, yet they are effective for relieving pain in individuals.Carter and Stratton (2011) explain that physical exercise has beenproved particularly helpful in the management of lower back pains. Inthis regard, they recommend physical therapy as a suitablealternative to the use of pharmaceutical agents in pain relief.

Conclusively,many research materials document the side effects of the long-termuse of pain management drugs. Nevertheless, most of them seeminglyfocus on the effects of painkillers and non-inflammatory agents, asthey are readily available over the counter in any part of the world.Examples of the side effects of prolonged pain managementpharmaceutical use include diarrhea, nausea, and reddening of theeyes among others. These effects are usually caused by theinteractions of the drugs with the opioid receptors in the body ofthe user for instance, when the aspirin reacts with the opioidreceptors of the gut, they lead to stomach pain or discomfort.Interestingly, other researchers have acknowledged the potentialdangers of excessive use of drugs in pain management. Consequently,they have proposed physical therapy as a suitable alternative.Examples of the proposed replacements for pain management drugsinclude massages, acupuncture, spinal adjustments, and physicalexercise. Intrinsically, these methods have been shown to work in therelief of lower back pain.


Carter,Catherine, RN, MSN,N.P., C.O.H.N.-S., Stratton, C., RN,M.N.Ed,C.O.H.N.-S., &amp Mallory, Debra, RN,PhD., N.P.-B.C. (2011). Yoga totreat nonspecific low back pain.&nbspAAOHNJournal,&nbsp59(8),355-361. doi:

Ferriolo,A. E,R.N., B.S.N., &amp Conlon, H. A., DNP, MS, MPH,A.R.N.P.-B.C.,C.O.H.N.-S. (2012). Pain management in occupational health: A guidefor non-narcotic pain relief.&nbspWorkplaceHealth &amp Safety,&nbsp60(12),525-30 quiz 531.doi:

Fischer,B., Jones, W., &ampRehm, J. (2014).Trends and changes inprescription opioid analgesic dispensing in Canada 2005-2012: Anupdate with a focus on recent interventions.&nbspBMCHealth Services Research,&nbsp14,90.doi:

Kauppinen-Räisänen,H., Owusu, R. A., &ampBylon, A. B. (2012).Brand salience of OTCpharmaceuticals through package appearance.&nbspInternationalJournal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing,&nbsp6(3),230-249. doi:

Turek,A., &ampOwczarek, A. (2014).Determinants of consumption behavior ofover-the-counter medications – the case of painkillers andanti-inflammatory medications.&nbspJournalof Economics &amp Management,&nbsp15,25-59. Retrieved from