Treatments & Therapies

Analgesia – Treatment, Effects & Risks


In medicine, the term analgesia describes the elimination of pain . It is a pain therapy with the help of a reduction or interruption of the excitation line or by administering medication.

What is analgesia?

In medical terminology, analgesia refers to the elimination of the sensation of pain with the help of medication or by damaging cells in the central or peripheral nervous system .

The term is also often used as a synonym for the term anesthesia , although not all sensations are eliminated during analgesia. Certain sensations, such as sensitivity to touch, remain with the patient during analgesia. If there is an injury with severed, sensitive nerve tissue, the anesthesia is usually combined with the analgesia. Thus, in the case of local (local) analgesia, due to the medication used, in principle a local anesthetic is also used .

Medicinal Forms & Types

The best-known form is probably drug analgesia . For example, non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects are used to treat pain . These drugs include, for example, active ingredients such as ibuprofen , metamizol or acetylsalicylic acid . Paracetamol (only analgesic, not anti-inflammatory) is also similar to the aforementioned active ingredients. These drugs are used to control mild to moderate pain and to treat inflammation and fever .In the case of severe pain, analgesics containing morphine (opioids such as codeine, fentanyl or tramadol ) are used in most cases for suppression, with these active substances usually being addictive and therefore falling under the Narcotics Act.

So-called migraine therapeutics (e.g. sumatriptan , ergotamine ), which constrict the central blood vessels, and adjuvant analgesics (e.g. antidepressants and antiepileptics ) also fall under drug-based analgesia. Depending on the treatment, the analgesics can be administered in the form of tablets, injections or patches.

Therapeutic Forms & Types

However, analgesia is not the only drug in medicine . This form of treatment also includes physical pain therapy in its simplest form – rest or immobilisation of the relevant part of the body.

This area also includes the promotion of the healing process with the help of movement therapy or physiotherapy as well as massage or cold or heat applications. Acupuncture also falls into this area of ​​medical treatment, as does the electrical stimulation of other stimulus receptors, which ensures that the pain is less perceived by the patient.

Another alternative to drug analgesia is the use of psychology (eg, autogenic training , hypnosis , suggestion). In extreme emergencies, however, ending the pain is sometimes only possible if the nerves are severed during neurosurgical treatment.

Analgesia as insensitivity to pain does not only exist from a medical point of view. Pathological forms of insensitivity to pain are also known. These are caused either by a congenital defect or by injuries (e.g. paraplegia , nerve injuries). For example, mutations in the SCN9A gene or the CIPA syndrome can be the cause of pathological analgesia.

Benefits & Importance

In the meantime, current developments show that patient -controlled analgesia is playing an increasingly important role today. For example, patients with chronic pain can have a pump fitted, which they can use to adjust the dose of the analgesics they need themselves.Patients are given the feeling that they can influence the existing symptoms themselves and therefore learn to deal with the disease better from a psychological point of view.

The so-called patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) offers some advantages in everyday clinical practice, both preoperatively, postoperatively and intraoperatively. The pain relief can be individually tailored to the needs of the patient.

Risks & side effects

Side effects of PCA are usually very minor if you take a closer look at the side effects of conventional pain relief methods. With this form of analgesia, the patient can be relieved of stress prematurely, which means that he or she can be mobilized more quickly. PCA is now of great importance for the recovery of the patient, because only a good course of therapy can also lead to the pain being relieved quickly.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.