There are many myths (untrue stories) about pain. No matter what you have heard, here is what’s true:

Most people don’t have to live with pain. There are pain treatments that work for most people. If your doctor has not been able to help you, ask to see a pain specialist.

Most people who take narcotic drugs as prescribed by a doctor for pain relief do not become addicted. If you take your medicine exactly the way your doctor tells you, then you are not likely to develop an addiction problem.

The side effects from pain medicine usually are not worse than the pain. Side effects from pain medicine like constipation, dry mouth, and drowsiness may be a problem when you first begin taking the medicine. These problems can often be treated and may go away as your body adjusts to the medicine.

Your doctor will not think you’re a whiner or a sissy if you talk about your pain. If you are in pain, you should tell your doctor so you can get the help you need.

If you use pain medicine now, it will still work when you need it later. If you use pain medicine at the first sign of pain, it may help control your pain later.

Pain is not all “in your head.” Your pain is very real. You aren’t making it up. No one but you knows how it feels. If you’re in pain, talk to your doctor.

Find an overview of pain treatment for seniors in “Pain: You Can Get Help” on the website of the National Institute on Aging.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke offers information about the management of chronic pain.

The American Chronic Pain Association offers resources and support for people who are living with chronic pain, and helpful information for family caregivers.