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Published on March 27, 2019

how to handle your aches and pains

Treating your aches and pains today

You no doubt have heard that the United States is experiencing a drug epidemic. From 1999 to 2016, more than 630,000 people died from a drug overdose.

Today, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. This significant rise in deaths can be traced back to an increase in prescription opioids to treat pain. Historically, healthcare providers were flooded with information about how pain was simple to treat with a pain pill that was non-addicting.

Not realizing how addicting these medicines really are, we all came to expect a prescription for a pain medicine whenever we had pain or a medical procedure. Not all pain is bad, and not all pain requires a pill. Pain is our body's way to alert us that something is not quite right. Pain may be a sign of an infection, inflammation, an injury or it may alert us to diseases or conditions we may have.

Pain can be acute (short term), or chronic (ongoing)

There are many things you can do to try to control pain on your own, including using ice, heat, elevation, rest, massage, gentle stretching, and acetaminophen or ibuprofen (following the dosage indicated on the bottle and if tolerated by you). Doctors are finding that ibuprofen WITH acetaminophen gives great pain relief.

It is important to tell your healthcare provider about your pain. Your provider will ask you more specific questions about your pain, like how long you've had it, how severe it is, and what situation brings on the pain. Depending on your situation, you may receive a prescription for a pain medication, but your provider will try to help you manage your pain in a safe way with the least amount of medication. Getting to the reason for the pain is more important
than making the pain go away.

To learn more about how to manage your pain visit our Pain Medicine section.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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