Helpful Materials for Patients

Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain can be challenging. It is essential that you and your doctor discuss treatment options with all of the risks and benefits carefully considered. Some medications, such as prescription opioids, can help relieve pain in the short term but also come with serious risks and potential complications—and must be prescribed and used carefully. CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain helps increase providers’ ability to offer safer, more effective pain management. The Guideline and supporting resources support clinical decision making about prescribing opioids.

Acute Pain

Acute Pain is pain that usually starts suddenly and has a known cause, like an injury or surgery. It normally gets better as your body heals and lasts less than three months. For this type of pain, opioid prescriptions should only be for the expected duration of pain severe enough to need opioids. Three days or less is often enough; more than seven days is rarely needed.

Conversation Starters

Whether you are experiencing long-standing chronic pain or new pain from an injury, there are different ways you can safely manage your pain, and improve your daily life. You may need to try a few different options before you find the right one for you. Start the conversation with your doctor to make sure you know all of the risks and benefits of different treatments, and how to reduce the risk of opioid addiction.

Videos

Informational, 91-second video that raises awareness about prescription opioids.

Some people might think prescription opioids are safer than alcohol or illegal drugs, but the truth is they carry serious risks and side effects. Talk with your doctor about your concerns and make informed decisions about pain management together.

Find Help and Treatment

If you or someone close to you needs help for a substance use disorder, talk to your doctor or call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or go to SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locatorexternal icon.

CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain