The Cleveland Clinic

Pain Management:
Frequently Asked Questions

1) Should I take pain medication only when I have a lot of pain?

No. Don't wait until pain becomes severe to take pain medication. Pain is easier to control when it is mild. You should take your pain medication regularly, just as prescribed. Sometimes this means taking medicine on a regular schedule.

2) Will I become addicted to narcotic pain medications?

Not necessarily, if you take your medication exactly as prescribed. A persons likelihood of becoming addicted depends on his or her addiction history. Addiction is less likely if you have never had an addictive disorder. Ask your doctor about any concerns you may have.

3) Why do I need to keep taking more of my medicine to have the same effect?

This situation occurs when you have developed tolerance to a drug. Tolerance is a normal physiological response to narcotics and occurs when the initial dose of a substance loses its effectiveness over time. Changing the dose or the medication often solves the problem. Just because you have become tolerant to a drug does not mean that you are addicted to that drug.

4) Should I tell my medical provider that I am having pain?

Yes. Your provider needs to assess your pain, so it is very important for your health care team to know if you are in pain.


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