You may be the last person to side with even listen to something that isn’t taught in Med School or Pharmacy School or in Nursing School or perhaps you are one to be weary about snake oil or getting hoodwinked on some “holistic scam”. As it turns out there is an established way of treating pain of all kinds. Personally I felt the same way before I started compounding. As a student I worked for a Compounding Pharmacy and was exposed to many aspects of individualized therapy. Ironically, none of that had anything to do with topical pain relief beyond menthol and camphor, although there were plenty of compounds for other health issues that helped countless patients in my time there as a student.
Luckily there is a Physician that is involved with palliative care and general pain clinic work that visited my Pharmacy when it was renovated with my compounding lab in plain view. It takes a physician like this to really result in patients receiving pain relief with a lack of systemic side effects that can burden long and short-term pain patients. These patients have a wide range of medical issues; cancer, arthritis, nerve pain, soft tissue pain, back pain, headache, fibromyalgia, lupus, pulled muscle, sprains, athletic injuries, and other types of pain that most always has been getting treated with conventional oral NSAIDS, Acetaminophen, and Narcotics in varying amounts, sometimes all at once. It is hard to picture even one of these moderate to severe pain patients that does not experience a side effect that is at the level of at least a nuisance and quite often more than that. Chronic constipation, nausea, sedation and GI ulceration/bleeding being the most common side effects we see. Added to this is the complication of drug-drug and drug-disease interactions that allow perhaps the patient to be on the drug but watchful for potential adverse reactions or periodic monitoring and follow up.
One thing I have realized as a Pharmacist is that nothing can replace clinical experience, especially when it comes to future recommendations to patients and Physicians. After years of doing this it has now become a go to recommendation for pain relief. This physician that originally began writing for these pain compounds wrote an article in Rehab and Community Care to help educate caregivers on the active pharmaceutical ingredients used with these compounds. I often educate physicians and patients on the benefits of these compounds. Without a doubt, one of the best contributions I have seen my pharmacy have towards the overall wellbeing of patients, even if it isn’t curing them of anything at all, just relieving a symptom.