Close this search box.

Pain Management

How Does Pain Management Work?

Pain is our body’s way of letting us know something is wrong. It is a common symptom of many illnesses and injuries and is a deterrent for certain behaviors.

However, pain is no longer necessary once we understand the problem. If we have a broken arm, we no longer need to feel pain once we receive the proper treatment.

Pain management helps patients comfortably heal while recovering from injury or illness.

Pain During Treatment

Treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy can cause pain while addressing a much more severe and debilitating illness. Though it may cause pain, we understand the disease or injury is being addressed.

Pain management can help reduce the side effects during the process. This is essential because uncontrolled pain prevents patients from working productively and enjoying recreation even when the underlying disease process is stable.

Types of Pain

Patients may experience two types of pain: chronic and acute.

Chronic pain may have many causes and perpetuating factors and, therefore, can be much more challenging to manage. It requires a multidisciplinary approach and customized treatment protocols to meet each patient’s specific needs.

Acute pain may hurt more but does not last as long. Treating this pain can be a more straightforward process.

Chronic Pain vs. Acute Pain

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is the persistent presence of pain in the body. It can be defined as chronic once it lasts for at least 12 weeks (3 months) or longer.

This type of pain has a multitude of causes:

  • Past injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Recent surgery
  • Infections
  • And other factors

This can lead to pain that persists even after the root source has been healed. However, there are instances where the cause is unknown. ​

Acute Pain

Acute pain can be sudden and sharp. It is typically a large amount of pain resulting from injury or other bodily harm.

Even situations such as surgery and dental work meant to fix a more significant problem will create acute pain.

Acute pain does not last long, however. It usually occurs for less than 12 weeks (3 months). Once the pain has subsided, the patient should be able to return to their usual activities.​

Treatments for Pain

Managing your pain with the help of medical professionals can be a great way to improve your quality of life while remaining as safe as possible.

It may take a unique strategy to reduce pain levels when dealing with chronic or acute pain. Optimal treatment may involve pain-relieving medications, including:
  • Some antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antiarrhythmics
  • Anesthetics
  • Antiviral agents
  • NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) antagonists

Physicians have found that smaller concentrations of each medication can be used by combining various agents that utilize different mechanisms to alter the sensation of pain.

Topical Anesthetics

Topical/transdermal creams and gels can be formulated to provide high local concentrations at the application site (e.g., NSAIDs for joint pain). They can also be compounded for trigger point application (e.g., combinations of medications for neuropathic pain) and in a base allowing systemic absorption.

Pain medication taken orally can come with side effects such as nausea, drowsiness, and even addiction. These side effects can often be avoided when drugs are used topically.

Studies suggest most drugs can be incorporated into a properly compounded transdermal gel. When medications are administered transdermally, they are not absorbed through the gastrointestinal system and do not undergo first-pass hepatic metabolism.

Because of the limited side effects, transdermal pain medication may help with the opioid crisis by:
  • Reducing adverse effects
  • Increasing patient compliance
  • And limiting exposure to abusive drugs

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID)

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are medicines used to relieve pain. They also commonly reduce inflammation and fever in the body.

Many are used in common brands and are available over the counter. NSAIDs include:
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • And high-dose aspirin

NSAIDs may cause indigestion, stomach aches, and even stomach ulcers when taken orally. Taking higher doses for extended periods may increase the chances of side effects.

We compound NSAIDs to contain other medications and treat symptoms such as autoimmune conditions, high blood pressure, and depression.

They can also be compounded into transdermal creams to bypass many side effects and have a more targeted approach to pain.


Ketamine is typically used for maintaining anesthesia. It provides a trance-like feeling in the body, especially at high doses.

This drug influences pain in a variety of ways. Recent studies have shown that ketamine reduces neurogenic pain and has anti-inflammatory effects.

Applications of ketamine over 2 weeks can lead to long-term analgesic effects. Some side effects of ketamine include:
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Psychedelic symptoms
  • Cardiovascular stimulation
  • And others

However, this drug can be compounded with others to reduce these side effects. For example, benzodiazepines may reduce the psychotropic symptoms of ketamine.

Topical ketamine is another option to address on-site pain with limited to no side effects.

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

Naltrexone was initially approved to treat disorders such as alcoholism and opioid addiction. Its primary function in the body is to block opioid receptors.

At low doses, however, naltrexone has shown positive results in managing pain in patients. Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) has made a niche as an alternative to opioids. Because it blocks opioid receptors, patients will not become addicted to the drug.

LDN will inhibit glial cells, prevent inflammation, and reduce pain. While naltrexone is commercially available at 50 mg, low doses of naltrexone must be compounded by a compounding pharmacy.

Lidocaine and Prilocaine

Lidocaine and Prilocaine are anesthetic drugs. They are commonly used in creams and topical gels for skin application.

They work as a local anesthetic and numb the nerve endings of the area where they are applied. This helps prep a patient for injections, wart removals, or any other abrasion to the body.

A lidocaine and prilocaine topical cream may cause slight side effects such as redness, burning sensation, or swelling.

If these effects worsen, discontinue using the cream and contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Creative Solutions for Pain

Pain can be a tricky symptom to address. Disorders such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) can be hard to pin down. Our compounding pharmacy gives you a gamut of resources in order to find the best possible solution.

Our pharmacist, Rachel Burns, talks more about how compounding pharmacies are especially equipped to handle pain symptoms:

We Can Help with Pain Management

Your pharmacist is an excellent resource for pain management. We work with your doctor to ensure your plan and strategy are tailored to your needs.

ClearSpring pharmacy can provide traditional prescriptions as well as compounded medications. This means we can develop the drug you need in the form you’d like. Whether it needs to be applied transdermally, orally ingested, or even in a suppository.

Check us out today! Give us a call in Littleton or Denver. Or fill out the form on this page! Our response times are generally within one business day.

You can also shoot us a text:
Littleton: 303-707-1500
Cherry Creek: 303-333-2010

Or even reach out on any of our social media profiles! We make it easy to connect.