Indications for Analgesia and Anesthesia
Typically, NSAIDs, aspirin, and paracetamol are used to treat mild to moderate pain arising from superficial structures such as the skin, bone, and joint. These drugs share advantages in being non-prescription, safe, and easy to use.
Recommendations for the use of more potent opioids are moderate to severe pain from deeper body parts. Both types of analgesics are used for acute pain that is tolerable.
The common indications for oral analgesics include:
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Menstrual pain
- Traumatic pain
- Cancer-related pain
Indications for Anesthesia
- Topically: As creams and sprays to numb the skin or mucous membranes in the nose and oral cavity. EMLA is a cream that combines two local anesthetics and is used for placing intravenous cannulas, blood sampling, and minor procedures.
- Subcutaneously: Around nerve fibres.
- Regionally: In the following two ways:
- Spinal anesthesia: The local anesthetic is injected into the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord.
- Epidural anesthesia: The anesthetic is injected via a small thin needle into space between the spine and the dural sac, which contains nerve roots and spinal fluid.
Local anesthesia is preferred for minor surgeries where the pain is tolerable, and the patient is calm. Local anesthetic injections are used to cause analgesia in the painful muscles while a patient completes physical therapy.
Long-acting local anesthetics are used to treat chronic muscle and nerve-related pain. Peripheral neuropathies, such as meralgia paresthetica and occipital neuralgia, are typically treated with long-acting local anesthetics.
Current Issue: Volume 3: Issue 2
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