Options for the treatment of Chronic Pain - Part Three: Medication

Almost every person who has suffered from or been diagnosed with a Chronic Pain disorder will have initially been prescribed medication designed to manage their pain.

Medication is the first and most obvious solution for treating and managing pain. There are a wide range of medications available designed to treat pain.

We will highlight a few of these medications that are regularly prescribed or available over the counter.

Non-opioid Analgesics:

Non- opioid analgesics are a category of medication that include your regular supermarket painkillers such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. Paracetamol is a general pain killer used to treat mild to moderate pain. It can be prescribed in varying strengths and is one of the best pain relievers available.

Ibuprofen also known as Advil is an anti-inflammatory medication designed to target and reduce inflammation. It is prescribed in larger doses than a similar drug; Naproxen also known as Aleve. Both are NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). , Although ibuprofen and naproxen are very similar, they aren’t exactly the same.

Pain relief from ibuprofen doesn’t last as long as pain relief from naproxen. That means you don’t have to take naproxen as often or in as higher dosage in order to get results. Naproxen is generally regarded as a better option for treating chronic pain.

Topical Analgesics:

Topical painkillers are those that are applied topically to the skin so that the active medication can be absorbed through the skin directly into the painful area. Many of these can be bought over the counter. People who struggle to digest medication might benefit from use of such drugs, particularly if they have experienced stomach related side effects.

Ibuprofen is commonly sold in a topical gel form, which can be rubbed into the affected area,  the dosages still need to be observed in the same way as when taken orally. 

Sufferers of chronic pain might also use creams which generate heat or a cooling sensation to detract from the pain and to help with muscle relaxation.  Capsaicin is one such cream with an active ingredient that is used to relieve pain. It is the chemical in chilli peppers that gives them their spicy heat. When applied topically in the form of deep heat it produces a warming sensation on the skin which can provide temporary relief.

Some of our client’s have used EMLA cream for short-term effect for the condition of CRPS, so as to enable victims of the condition to have a shower and lessen symptoms of hypersensitivity for that time.  EMLA cream is often used to numb the skin before an injection but can be very effective in tackling wind resistance pain and hypersensitivity in Chronic Pain disorders.

You should take advice on use of topical creams if you are taking them in conjunction with other no-prescribed or prescription medication.


The most well known and most common opioid painkiller is Codeine. Opioids are prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain and are highly addictive so the use of these is very carefully managed. It is not recommended that Opioid painkillers are used for longer than 3 days at a time. Opioids can be very effective at relieving pain but should be discussed with your doctor.

Many sufferers of chronic pain are prescribed Tramadol. This is a very strong painkiller and may cause symptoms of drowsiness and confusion. Some victims of chronic pain complain of “brain fog” and sometimes this can be explained as a symptom or side effect of use of opioid medication.

The side effects of painkillers such as Tramadol should be carefully weighed against the pain relieving benefits. Also patients will need to consult with their GP before coming off of this medication so as to avoid


Amitriptyline is commonly used as a painkiller but is also an antidepressant. It is particularly good in the control of nerve pain and commonly in the case of long-term/ chronic pain, patients will suffer varying degrees of depression, therefore the drug can offer psin relief whilst assisting with their reduced mood. Amitriptyline are prescribed by a medical professional.


Anticonvulsants such as Gabapentin and Pregabalin are regularly used in the treatment of more severe chronic pain and neuropathic pain. They work by inhibiting the neurotransmitter release interrupting the signals that the brain recognises as pain in the body and nerves. They are used in the treatment of epilepsy and in some cases of migraine. These are prescription drugs and usage will be closely monitored by a patients GP. They cannot be purchased over the counter.

If you have any questions or feel that you may be experiencing chronic pain as a result of an accident or injury please do get in touch.

At Goughs, our specialist chronic pain lawyers are highly experienced and can help you understand your condition and will always seek the opinion of top medical experts and leading barristers to reinforce your claim.

This approach allows us to build a strong case, ensuring that you feel safe in the knowledge that we are in the best possible position to try to secure compensation that will assist you for the rest of your life.

We encourage you to take advantage of our free initial consultation and we will come to see you at home, at work or anywhere in England and Wales to discuss your claim on a no win no fee basis.

We take the time to really understand what you are going through and will explain exactly how we can help.

For further information on a wide range of chronic pain conditions please visit our chronic pain section. 

We listen, we advise, we are here for you.