Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Pain Medicine

  • Learn how negative and positive thoughts affect the way you experience pain.

  • Long-acting opioid pain relievers are medicines used to relieve moderate to severe long-term pain. They are also called extended-release opioids. Opioids relieve pain by changing the way your body feels pain. They don't cure a health problem, but they help you manage the pain. If you take a lot of short-acting...

  • Learn to track how well you are managing your pain.

  • Dementia is a loss of mental skills that affects daily life. It can cause problems with memory and with how well a person can think, plan, and communicate. Usually dementia gets worse over time. How long this takes is different for each person. Some...

  • Learn how you can work with your doctor and care team to manage pain while in the hospital.

  • Prescribed an opioid? Get the facts so you can safely manage your pain.

  • You know your child best, so learn how to assess your child's pain while in the hospital and to speak up.

  • Learn more about how to use opioid medicines safely—if your child is prescribed one.

  • Most women have painful cramps from their period from time to time. The good news is that you can usually relieve cramps with over-the-counter medicine and home treatment. Pain medicine and home treatment can help ease cramps. Stay ahead of the pain. Take over-the-counter pain medicine, such as ibuprofen (Advil, for...

  • Pain can be caused by many things, such as an injury, a surgery, or a health problem like low back pain or cancer. Long-term pain that isn't controlled can make it harder to enjoy life. But there are ways you can learn to manage pain. And managing pain can have a lot of benefits, like being able to do more activities or...

  • Discusses chronic pain caused by problems other than cancer. Covers symptoms and how chronic pain is diagnosed. Covers conditions that can be treated, like neck pain, low back pain, and arthritis. Info on treatment with medicine and lifestyle changes.

  • What is pain? Pain is your body's way of warning you that something is wrong. If you step on a sharp object or put your hand on a hot stove, the pain lets you know right away that you are hurt and need to protect yourself. You may have pain from an injury, after surgery, or from a health problem like cancer...

  • A pain diary may help you and your doctor find out what makes your pain better or worse. Use the diary and pain scale below to keep track of when you have pain, how bad it is, and what you are doing to treat it. This figure has been reproduced with...

  • Guides you through the decision to use epidural corticosteroid shots to relieve back pain. Explains risks and benefits of epidural steroid shots. Compares steroid shots with other treatment for back pain.

  • In the past, opioids were used only for short periods for short-term pain or for cancer pain. Many experts now also use them for longer periods to treat chronic pain. You can take these drugs, which are sometimes called narcotics or opiates, to...

  • If pain is starting to get you down, let people know when you need a helping hand. Get family members or friends to help out with physical tasks you can't do right now. Here are some ideas to get you started: Divide up household chores. You take the...

  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a term used to describe a group of painful conditions. Examples of earlier names for these conditions include reflex sympathetic dystrophy, causalgia, and Sudeck's atrophy. Pain is the main symptom of CRPS....

  • Living with pain can be hard, especially if it's long-term—or chronic—pain. Chronic pain is pain that lasts for 3 months or longer. It can make you sleep poorly, feel tired and irritable, and have a hard time being active or working. It may strain your relationships with loved ones too, making it hard to be the kind of...

  • Learn about a peripheral nerve block: what it is, how it's done, and how safe it is.

  • Learn about chronic pain and what you can do to feel better.

  • Learn about other ways to manage pain, in addition to medicine.

  • Hear how others found strength and support to manage their pain.

  • Learn to reduce your pain by changing negative thoughts.

  • Here's information to help you work with your doctor so you can take prescribed opioids safely.

  • Learn how medicines can help you manage chronic pain.

  • Think about what you've tried for back pain and what you might consider now.

  • Guides you through the decision to have surgery for a herniated disc in the low back. Describes the types of surgery available, as well as nonsurgical treatment. Lists the benefits and risks of both types of treatment. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Discusses ways to relieve pain from menstrual cramps that usually start before or at the beginning of your period. Includes steps you can take such as applying heat on your belly or getting regular exercise. Covers over-the-counter medicines that can help.

  • Doctors do not use lab tests to diagnose fibromyalgia. The results of lab tests done on people with fibromyalgia should be normal unless another condition is present. You may have lab tests to rule out other diseases or to find out whether you have...

  • Exercise is one of the most important treatments for fibromyalgia. Regular exercise will strengthen your muscles, increase blood flow to the muscles, and increase your endurance. It also may reduce the risk of tiny injuries to the muscles that may...

  • If you have chronic pain, such as with fibromyalgia or complex regional pain syndrome, you may have a hard time sleeping or you may wake up feeling tired and unrefreshed. Some experts believe poor sleep can make pain worse. Getting a good night's...

  • Nondrug methods of relieving pain may be helpful for people who have fibromyalgia. These can include: Applying heating pads or taking warm baths or showers. Gentle massage of painful muscles. Regular exercise to help strengthen muscles, which will...

  • Information on fibromyalgia, a syndrome that causes people to feel pain even when there is no injury. Covers symptoms and how it is diagnosed. Includes info on treatments such as medicines, exercise therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

  • If you have a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), you can try ice or heat to relieve your pain. Put either an ice pack or a warm, moist cloth on your jaw for 15 minutes several times a day. You can try switching back and forth between moist heat and cold. Gently open and close your mouth while you use the ice pack or...

  • In some people who have long-lasting pain, biochemical changes are triggered in the body, causing a different type of chronic pain (neuropathic pain) that doctors currently find difficult to diagnose and treat. Pain signals are somehow triggered by...

  • When a child is in pain, his or her parents usually know it. But pain can be hard for a child to describe. An older child may be able to describe the pain as sharp or cramping or tell whether the pain comes and goes (intermittent). A child between...

  • What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...

  • Peripheral nerve blocks are a type of regional anesthesia. The anesthetic is injected near a specific nerve or bundle of nerves to block sensations of pain from a specific area of the body. Nerve blocks usually last longer than local anesthesia....

  • Pain is a long-lasting problem for people who have sickle cell disease. Bouts of severe pain can last for hours to days and are difficult to treat. Pain can be exhausting for caregivers as well as for the person in pain. A pain management plan can help a person cope with chronic pain and with pain caused by a sickle...

  • To help control the pain and stress of labor, you may get pain medicines. The medicine can be injected into a vein or into the muscle. The most common pain medicines used are opioids. Examples include fentanyl, morphine, and nalbuphine. How opioids work for labor pain Opioids suppress how you perceive pain, and they...

  • Bursitis or a tendon injury (tendinopathy) in the elbow causes soreness or pain in the elbow region, particularly when the arm is in motion. Pressing on the affected area will also cause pain. The epicondyles are the bony bumps you can feel on the inside and outside of your elbow. Tendinopathy or epicondylopathy is a...

  • Bursitis or a tendon injury ( tendinopathy) can cause pain at the side of your hip when you rise from a chair and take your first few steps, climb stairs, drive, or lie down with direct pressure on the side of the hip. See a picture of bursitis of the hip. To prevent and ease hip pain during work, play, or daily...

  • Bursitis or a tendon injury (tendinopathy) in the shoulder can cause pain on the outside or front of the upper arm. Common symptoms include pain, pinching, and stiffness when you raise your arm. These symptoms are often brought on by doing repeated overhead movements. Pain from bursitis or a tendon injury can keep you...

  • An injury to the Achilles tendon ( Achilles tendinopathy) can cause pain and stiffness on and above the back of the heel. Achilles tendinopathy is common among athletes. But it also occurs in people of all ages, activity levels, and jobs. Bursitis can also cause pain and swelling at the back or bottom of the heel. To...

  • Botulinum toxin A is a protein produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, the same bacteria that causes botulism food poisoning. When injected into muscle in tiny amounts, botulinum A (Botox) can stop or reduce muscle spasm by blocking nerve signals to the muscle. This treatment has been used since the early 1990s...

  • Covers using an electrical current to treat chronic pain. Explains how peripheral nerve and spinal cord stimulation is done, why it is done, and how well it works. Includes possible risks related to the treatment.

  • Chronic pain often requires both counseling and medical treatment, because it can have a wearing effect on both the body and the mind. At a pain management clinic, you can get multidisciplinary treatment from a team of specialists, including: Physiatrists. These medical doctors specialize in physical medicine and...

  • Discusses transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), a therapy that uses low-voltage electrical current for pain relief. Covers TENS treatment for different illnesses and conditions such as muscle, joint, or bone problems.

  • Pain and other symptoms related to your life-limiting illness almost always can be managed effectively. Talk to your doctor and family about the symptoms you are experiencing. Your family is an important link between you and your doctor. Have a...

  • Covers using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to learn ways to relax, reduce stress, and help you cope with pain. Looks at why it is done and what to expect after treatment. Includes info on how well it works.

  • Not all forms of cancer or cancer treatment cause pain. If pain occurs, many treatments are available to relieve it. If your doctor has given you instructions or medicines to treat pain, be sure to follow them. Home treatment may help to reduce pain and improve your physical and mental well-being. Be sure to discuss...

  • Provides brief discussion on nerve block for pain relief. Explains that it is done by injecting a drug into or around a nerve or into the spine. Covers when and why nerve blocks are used. Also covers risks.

  • Pain is a frustrating, sometimes debilitating aspect of ongoing (chronic) pancreatitis. Many people have pain for many years. Pain may decrease as the damaged pancreas loses its ability to produce enzymes. But it may take years for the pancreas to stop producing enzymes. In many people, this process never occurs...

  • Covers creating and following a plan to help manage symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Discusses early treatment with exercise and medicine to limit joint damage. Includes tips for coping with chronic joint pain, fatigue, and stiffness.

  • Discusses how cancer pain can almost always be relieved if you work with your doctor to create a treatment plan that is right for you. Covers using a pain control diary and medication record. Includes managing side effects and complementary medicine.

  • Heat and cold treatments can help with mild to moderate pain from cancer. But talk to your doctor before trying either of these during chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Heat may relieve sore muscles. Use a heating pad, a gel pack, or a hot-water bottle. Or you can take a hot bath or shower. Apply heat for no longer...

  • A pain diary may help you and your doctor find out what makes your pain better or worse. Use the diary below to keep track of when you have pain, how bad it is, and what you are doing to treat it. This figure has been reproduced with permission of the International Association for the Study of Pain® (IASP®). The figure...

  • Most children who have juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) will have some pain and discomfort from the disease. The pain of JIA is related to the type and severity of the disease, the child's pain threshold, and emotional and psychological factors. Pain limits a child's ability to function. With care and good...

  • What is chronic myofascial pain? Most people have muscle pain from time to time. But chronic myofascial pain is a kind of ongoing or longer-lasting pain that can affect the connective tissue (fascia) of a muscle or group of muscles. With myofascial pain, there are areas called trigger points. Trigger points are usually...

  • "Fibro fog" is the name commonly given to the cognitive problems that can go along with fibromyalgia syndrome. These problems with concentration and memory can lead to confusion, losing your train of thought, or forgetting or mixing up words or details. You can take steps to manage fibro fog. Try some of the...

  • Prolotherapy involves injecting a substance into the body to promote the growth of normal cells, tissues, or organs. There are three types of prolotherapy. The type used to treat joint pain is called inflammatory prolotherapy. In inflammatory prolotherapy, a sugar water solution (dextrose) is injected into a weakened...

  • Pain medicine works better when the pain first starts, before it gets too bad. A patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump lets you give yourself intravenous (IV) pain medicine when you need it. This gives you more control of your pain relief. The PCA pump contains your pain medicine. Usually that medicine is morphine...

  • What is nerve ablation? The destruction (also called ablation) of nerves is a method that may be used to reduce certain kinds of chronic pain by preventing transmission of pain signals. It is a safe procedure in which a portion of nerve tissue is destroyed or removed to cause an interruption in pain signals and...

  • Palliative care is medical care that provides an extra layer of support for people who have serious and chronic illnesses. With palliative care, you have the help of a medical team who are experts in managing treatment side effects such as pain,...

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