Ask someone suffering from chronic pain if they can live without an opioid prescription and they’ll probably tell you “NO!”. The thought of taking those pills away devastates most opioid users. However, doctors are looking at new ways of managing chronic pain that doesn’t necessarily include an opioid prescription.
Diseases such as degenerative disc disease, bulging discs, or fibromyalgia are commonly treated with heavy pain medication such as hydrocodone, an opioid-based drug. Once those pills are prescribed, the possibility exists that they’ll be necessary for the remainder of the patient’s life. What most people don’t know is that the science behind the use of opioids for people with debilitating conditions isn’t all that strong.
Most studies on the use of opioids for the treatment of chronic pain are short-term.
These studies have found that acute pain can be treated effectively with opioids in the short-term. However, in a new long-term study created by Dr. Erin Krebs at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Health Care System, she discovered that over the counter drugs could be just as effective for people experiencing chronic pain as the heavy duty opioid prescriptions.
Over the 12-month study, they found that the pain experienced by patients not using opioids was actually less severe than the pain experienced by patients treated with an opioid drug. The fact of opioid tolerance makes these stronger and quite addictive drugs less effective over time. Simply put, use, after a few months the pills just don’t have the same effect as they did in the beginning.
Why is this important ?
A key reason to reconsider the use of opioid prescription for people with chronic pain is to eliminate the chances of overdose and addiction. Patients are learning that prolonged opioid use actually harms them more than it benefits them. It makes sense to stay off the drugs in the first place.
Over time, the quality of life goes down for individuals dealing with chronic pain treated with opioids. Because they have to take more medication over time, they become groggier and wind up spending more time in bed sleeping and less time living a vital life. Reducing the use of opioids is possible by slowly replacing them with other therapies and drugs. Read some Effective Home Remedies For Back Pain.
In order to change the dependence upon opioids for chronic pain management, it’s important to rethink how we approach their use. First, patients need to realize that they will always have to deal with some level of pain. A pain-free life simply isn’t a viable alternative when dealing with certain long-term conditions. However, by using less potent medications to manage pain, a higher quality of life can result.
Chronic pain must be managed. Rethinking the current approach of nonstop opioid use includes using medications as only one aspect in the way chronic pain is treated. It’s recommended that exercise and diet be included as a way to manage pain. Cognitive therapies that help us we work how we think about pain are also effective. On bad days, it may be necessary to take an occasional dose of the heavier pain relief medication such as opioids. However long-term pain medication such as opioids doesn’t have to be a given when more effective methods are available. Visit us for more information .