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When you’re managing pain, like after surgery, it can be challenging to balance the risks and benefits of all pain treatment options, such as over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, prescription medicines, and non-drug methods. If you want a non-opioid pain relief option, you’re not alone. Almost 80%* of people would prefer a non-opioid pain reliever. By creating a pain management plan, you can define your pain relief goals and work with your healthcare professional on the appropriate options to reach them.


Download this planner

Work with your healthcare professional to find the pain relief therapies that will work best for you.

Take control and make your pain management plan personal

Pain management plans that use more than one method have been shown to give patients more pain relief than if they were to use only one type of therapy. This method works because each pain relief therapy targets a different area of your body in a different way.

Some proven ways to help manage pain are OTC pain relievers, prescription medicines (such as opioids), non-drug methods (such as heat therapy or electrical nerve stimulation), and alternative therapies (such as acupuncture or massage).

To make the most of your pain management plan, be sure to:

  • Speak up! Express your concerns—especially if you’re worried about opioids—with your doctor or nurse practitioner. They want to know!

  • Know your options. Remember, you have a say in creating your plan. Let them know if you’re interested in non-drug pain relief options too.

  • Set personal goals. Make goals that mean the most to you. Try to focus on getting back to your regular activities faster, such as sleeping through the night, or getting back to work, instead of eliminating your pain completely.

Consider the efficacy of OTC pain relievers as part of your plan

Many studies support the efficacy of OTC pain relievers for a variety of acute and chronic pain states. If your healthcare professional recommends an OTC pain reliever, remember to:

  • Follow directions. Take your medicine exactly as your healthcare professional tells you to stay on track for recovery.

  • Get ahead of your pain. Even if you are feeling better, keep following your pain management regimen.

  • Mention every medicine you take. The medicines you are currently taking may affect which pain reliever your healthcare professional recommends.

Get started by downloading an easy-to-use personal Pain Management Planner before your next appointment. Fill it out to keep what’s important top of mind.

Fill out this form and take it to your next appointment.

Certain OTC pain relievers may be a better choice for you than others.

*Based on a 2016, 500-person survey of patients who had orthopedic surgery.