Pharmacologic treatment is the foundation of pain therapy. Nearly half of individuals who suffer from pain choose a non-prescription analgesic (e.g., Advil, Excedrin, Tylenol ) as their initial choice for pain relief. When necessary, physicians will prescribe their patients prescription-strength pain medication.

Although invasive methods are sometimes required, most pain can be relieved through prescription and non-prescription analgesics. There are three basic categories of pain medications: non-opioids, opioids and co-analgesics. A doctor will individualize the pain management regimen by prescribing the appropriate medication. Before prescribing pain medication, a physician should gather important history of the patient including age, coexisting diseases, other medications currently being taken, preferences, responses to previous treatments, allergies, an accumulation of toxic metabolites and for addiction potential. Once all factors have been examined, the pain care team can establish a management plan.