There are different drugs used to treat chronic pain and these fall under prescription and non-prescription drug categories. While these medications produce great results in helping reduce levels of pain and inflammation, they can also be dangerous.
Over the past few years, there has been a shift in the pain management community, as questions have been raised on the increasing drug addiction and deaths brought about by chronic pain medication abuse. While the value of chronic pain medication cannot be discounted, there are dangerous consequences to consider.
Managing Chronic Pain without Medication
You don’t necessarily have to use narcotics to treat your chronic pain; there are plenty of ways in which patients can gain pain relief otherwise. Alternative therapy has proven to be very effective, especially acupuncture, massage therapy and a newer treatment known as myofascial trigger point needling which is similar to acupuncture. These three treatment alternatives are producing good results and this is because they focus on areas in the body that trigger the pain signals.
Exercise and physical therapy is also very important, and while many people will relate physical activity to pain, it ultimately helps the patient in the long run. Exercise helps prevent muscle loss and can reduce inflammation. Certain dietary supplements could help reduce inflammation and fight pain. Studies show that nutrients such as Vitamin B, fish oil, chondroitin and glucosamine are supplements that would work as an alternative to pain medication.
Interventional pain treatments with an Arizona Worker’s Compensation pain doctor are important as well for chronic pain relief. These may include epidural injections, medial branch blocks, facet and extremity joint injections, and trigger point injections. These may reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication over a period of months and then may be repeated.
When a person sustains a work injury, it may take a combination of these options to obtain pain relief. Pain medications may be necessary for a while, and then a conversion to non-narcotics. A Federal workers compensation doctor may help considerably with these options such as Dr. Demitri Adarmes at Arizona IMA.
When Chronic Pain Medication Makes Sense
Different patients react differently to pain medication and therapy. When it comes to the issue of chronic pain, the treatment can be tricky because of the obvious risks of drug dependency and addiction. Usually, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed initially. When these don’t produce the desired relief, it makes sense to pursue stronger medication.
Some of the situations that may warrant a pain management specialist to recommend chronic pain medication includes when all other conservative treatments have been pursued with no success. When the patient has undergone surgery and still suffers from chronic pain, narcotic medication may be administered. Phantom pain after an amputation is also quite common and patients may be forced to prescribe chronic pain medication to help the patient find relief.
Other cases where the provision of chronic pain medication may make sense is when the only other treatment option left to pursue is surgery. A pain management specialist could decide to try relieving the pain with narcotic medication as opposed to surgery.
While there have been patients who have managed their conditions without chronic pain medication, this doesn’t always work for all. Indeed, chronic pain medication comes with serious side effects and risks. The doctor and patient must weigh the risks versus the benefits in order to identify if chronic pain medication is the way to go. At the end of the day, the severity of your condition will determine if this pain medication makes sense.