Improve pain relief

Sadly, medications can’t cure persistent pain. They can only lessen it by 40%, at best, and often by less. Watch the video on this page about pain and pain systems to understand more about why this is.

If drugs don’t provide the relief you expected, it can lead to frustration and worry. This, in turn, adds to the stress of pain and a vicious cycle sets in.

To get the best out of the medication your GP has prescribed it’s important you:

  • Use the correct doses and right timings
  • Don't wait until pain levels are severe before using medication
  • Discuss reducing usage with your GP before cutting down over time or stopping

Use the resources on this page to find out more about pain relief options and to help understand the benefits of medication, as well as the potential side effects and problems.

British Pain Society guidance for patients using opioids

If you are using morphine-like drugs called opioids - such as tramadol, dihydrocodeine, fentanyl, slow release morphine - read the guidance on the right of this page to help make you aware of the potential short and long-term problems.

Medicine review with your pharmacist

The most common morphine side effects are constipation, drowsiness, dry mouth, feeling sick and depression or low mood. You may need help from your GP or pharmacist to manage these. You can arrange your own free medicine use review with your pharmacist to ensure you’re using them correctly and safely. Use the guidance on the right of this page to help you prepare for it.

Making decisions about using medications

Talk to your GP and use the guidance on the right of this page to help you make the right choices about your current medication – whether to continue, change, reduce the dose or stop. Many people who become a ‘pain self-manager’ discover they can, with support from their GP, reduce or stop their morphine type medications and feel much better.