My Health & Wellbeing

The role of medication

Which, if any, medication is right for me?

The type of medicines that may help to treat your pain depend on the kind of pain you are experiencing

Anti-inflammatory painkillers work best for pain linked to inflammation, such as back pain or headaches. Paracetamol and anti-inflammatory painkillers can be used separately or together.

Tablets that change the way the central nervous system works may help if the pain is caused by sensitive or damaged nerves, as is the case with shingles or sciatica.

All medications have possible side effects, so you need to weigh up the advantages of taking them against the disadvantages and advantages. Painkillers should only be taken if they will help improve your quality of life.

You can read more about medications on NHS Choices.

Opioids & my Pain

Opiods are the strongest pain killers we have and are very important in the treatment of pain

There are many varieties and strengths but all have the potential to cause addiction

They include medicines such as:

  • Morphine
  • Diamorhine
  • Pethidine
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Buprenorphine


  1. Opioids are very good analgesics for short term pain and for end of life pain treatment but there is little evidence that they are helpful for long term pain
  2. A small proportion of people may obtain good pain relief with opioids in the long-term if the dose can be kept low and especially if their use is intermittent
  3. the risk of harm increases substantially at doses above an oral morphine equivalent of 120mg/day, but there is no increased benefit
  4. If a patient is using opioids but is still in pain, the opioids are not effective and should be discontinued, even if no other treatment is available
  5. Chronic pain is very complex and if patients have refractory and disabling symptoms, particularly if they are on high opioid doses, a very detailed assessment of the many emotional influence on their pain experience is essential

The Faculty of Pain have produced some useful information that you can find using the links below to support you with making decisions around taking Opioids

Stopping your opioids

To find out more about stopping opioids watch the short video below

Understanding Pain: Brainman stops his opioids