Chronic Pain and Tramadol - Reclaiming Your Life!

Chronic pain doesn't have to take control...

When injured or following surgery, you expect to experience pain for a bit of time, but you know that eventually you'll heal and the pain will subside. If you have a medical condition - from arthritis to heart disease to cancer - you recognize your discomfort as a symptom and trust that your prescribed treatment will help. While you wait for your body to heal, pain medication provides temporary relief.

Chronic pain is a very different situation. Sometimes, it's the result of an injury that appears to have healed. Other times, it's a lingering symptom of a past illness. And in some cases, chronic pain develops on it's own, with no link to trauma or disease. However it may be explained, chronic pain is something of a mystery.

Tests and examinations may uncover nothing abnormal, but your body's distress is real. In time, physical pain creates emotional stress, making your body even more uncomfortable. Anxiety magnifies unpleasant sensations, and sleep problems may leave you feeling weak and helpless.

If you've been going from doctor to doctor, now's the time to settle on one and build a good relationship. The right doctor could be a family physician or a specialist with expertise in the area of your underlying condition - for example, a rheumatologist would be appropriate if you are dealing with arthritis or other rheumatoid related illnesses. Or, you may choose to work with a pain management specialist. If you have a primary care doctor, he or she may be able to refer you to a pain management clinic in your area. Otherwise, major hospitals and multispecialty group practices are likely to have pain management specialists on staff. If a hospital has a pain clinic, you can find a pain specialist there too.

Even if you're working with a pain specialist, you need a primary care doctor to manage your overall health. Keep both doctors informed about the details of your condition, and make sure they both have access to all your records. It's particularly important for every doctor you consult to know what pain medications you are taking, who is prescribing those medications and what, if any, additional drugs you take for other reasons. Sharing this information reduces the risk that you'll accidentally overdose on pain medication or experience a dangerous drug interaction(s). Once your pain is under control and you're on a stable regimen of medications, your primary care doctor can provide ongoing prescriptions.

If you persist in your efforts and get support from friends, family members and trusted medical personnel, your overall outlook will improve. You may not conquer chronic pain, but you can learn to see it as an unpleasant circumstance that sometimes requires accommodation but never threatens your spirit or dominates your life.

What kinds of medications are available to help you reach your goals? "Tramadol" (also marketed under many trade names including Adolonta, Contramal, Crispin, Nobligan, Siverol, Tiparol, Toplagic, Tradolan, Tralgit, Tramacet, Tramadin, Ultracet, Ultram, Zamadol and Zydol) is an effective pain reliever (analgesic) for chronic pain disorders. Tramadol's mode of action resembles that of narcotics, but it has significantly less potential for abuse and addiction than the narcotics family of analgesics. Tramadol is as effective as narcotics in relieving pain but does not depress respiration, a side effect of most narcotics. Tramadol also does not have the increased risk of stomach ulceration and internal bleeding that can occur with some other analgesics.

Tramadol can impair thinking and the physical abilities required for driving or operating machinery. Tramadol should be avoided in patients intoxicated with alcohol, hypnotics, and narcotics. Large doses of tramadol administered with alcohol or anesthetic agents can impair breathing. Tramadol can increase the risk of seizure in epileptic patients, especially with simultaneous use of tricyclic antidepressants, such as Elavil. No dosage adjustment or reduction is necessary in healthy elderly patients 65-75 years of age. Patients over the age of 75 years, and those with liver and kidney dysfunction may need lower dosages. The safety of tramadol in children has not been established. Tramadol may rarely be habit forming. Tramadol should be avoided in patients with a history of opiate addiction or hypersensitivity to opiate medications.

Tramadol is generally well tolerated and side effects are usually transient. Commonly reported side effects include nausea, constipation, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, and vomiting. Less commonly reported side effects include itching, sweating, dry mouth, diarrhea, rash, visual disturbances, and vertigo.

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