Management of pain

Chronic pain considerably reduces the quality of life of the patients. Therefore the aim of chronic pain therapy has to be the suppression of pain.

Due to its complexity, chronic pain requires different, complementary approaches, such as physical and psychological treatment and pharmacological therapy. This includes a wide range of pain-relieving medications (analgesics). Depending on the pain severity, different kinds of analgesics are available. For the treatment of mild pain, non-opioids are used. These are also called “peripherally acting analgesics” as they predominantly have peripheral effects. For more severe pain opioids can be used, which are also known by the term “centrally acting analgesics” (CAA) since they primarily have a central effect (in the brain or spinal cord). In addition, so-called co-analgesics, are used when appropriate. Co-analgesics are medications whose primary indication is for a purpose other than pain relief, but that demonstrate some analgesic effects although they may not all specifically be licensed for use as analgesics (e.g. antidepressants).

Additionally, non-pharmacologic approaches such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), or physiotherapy may support pain control.