03 Mar How Can Pain be Managed without the Use of Addictive Medications?
The use of narcotic pain medication such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl to name a few, has caused a major problem in terms of resulting in the addictive behavior of a large percentage of individuals who use these drugs to manage chronic pain.
Narcotics work on the central nervous system and cause a euphoric feeling in the user. Some patients may become tolerant to the drug meaning that they need to use more of it to provide the same effect of pain relief.
In some individuals, trying to stop the medication causes withdrawal symptoms and this means that the person has now become dependent on the drug. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Having low energy
- Excessive yawning
- Difficulty with sleeping
- A runny nose
- Teary eyes
- Muscle aches and pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
For this reason and of course the euphoria caused by the medication, patients who become tolerant to narcotics keep on using the medication and then may develop an addiction to the drugs.
At this point in time, some statistics regarding the use of narcotic medications include the following:
- 20 to 30 percent of patients who are prescribed narcotic medication for chronic pain will end up misusing the drugs.1
- Shockingly, 80 percent of heroin users initially began by misusing prescription narcotic medications.2
- In 2016, there were more than 64,000 deaths as a result of drug overdose, with most of them being attributed to the use of prescription narcotics. Fentanyl was involved in more than 20,000 of those deaths.
- There are more deaths in the United States every year due to drug overdose than those caused by car accidents and guns.
Sorrento Valley Pain Relief Center has made it their goal to help manage patients with chronic pain by using nonnarcotic pain relief measures in order to reduce the chances of individuals becoming addicted to narcotic pain medications and then experiencing the mentioned complications.
One of these non-narcotic measures Sorrento Valley Pain Center incorporates into their program is physical medicine, also known as physiatry. It is a branch of medicine with the following characteristics:
- Helping to restore optimal functioning to those people with injuries to the muscles, nervous system, bones, or ligaments.
- The aim is to enhance and restore the functional ability of an individual and improve the quality of life in those with disabilities and physical impairments that have no cure.
- Techniques, exercises, and recommendations are performed and given to the affected individual in order to help reduce pain without having to rely too heavily on addictive pain medications.
Physiatrists also lead an interdisciplinary team of allied healthcare professionals to help treat and manage patients accordingly, and may include:
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Speech therapists
- Recreational therapists
- Social workers
Other measures incorporated by the center to help to reduce chronic pain in patients include:
- Massage therapy
- Cold laser therapy
- Spinal decompression therapy for patients with spine-related pathologies