My father had sciatica for about six months. When he found out it was caused by prostate cancer and not from a disc problem, his pain and drug use went way up. Before he was using ibuprofen, now he's taking codeine. Is this really necessary? We are all worried he will become addicted.

You are noticing a fairly common response in some patients. Their beliefs and expectations dictate their pain more than the actual condition. Many studies report similar findings. It doesn't seem to matter what the problem is: irritable bowel, angina, fibromyalgia, headaches, and so on. How the patient interprets the pain is the key.

Researchers also report greater pain and drug use when symptoms occur after an injury or trauma. You may want to talk with your father and his doctor about his need for drugs and the best kind to take for his symptoms.