Chronic pain is pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks and can range in severity. Experiencing pain regularly can have a huge impact on your life, whether it’s a low and constant ache or something more severe. Millions of people deal with chronic pain and the ways that it can affect their daily lives, from making it difficult to work to impacting their sleep. Learning how to manage chronic pain can be difficult and diagnosing the cause is often not as easy as you might like it to be. To effectively manage chronic pain, medical professionals need to look for the cause and find effective and safe treatment options for both the cause and the pain itself. Read more about the inpatient treatment for chronic pain and depression
The link between physical pain and opioid addiction is one that can’t be ignored. Opioid pain medications are often prescribed for chronic pain management, but some people even turn to opioids to self-medicate even when they have not been prescribed them. When dealing with opioid addiction, the idea of managing pain without opioid pain medication or perhaps even without any pain medication at all can seem unthinkable. However, it’s essential to have alternative ways to manage pain when recovering from an addiction. See more on how to avoid addiction while living with chronic pain.
The Causes of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be caused by many things and experienced in lots of different ways. From back pain to aching joints, headaches, and nerve pain, people who have chronic pain can deal with a variety of problems. The pain can be tiring and have a large impact, changing many people’s lives. It’s estimated that around 20% of people suffer from constant pain at some point in their lives. This can also lead to other issues, including depression and other mental health problems due to the emotional impact that chronic pain can have.
Some of the causes of chronic pain include:
- Acute injury – injuries that take a long time to heal or perhaps even cause permanent damage
- Acute illness – an illness that requires a lot of treatment and might take a while to recover from
- Chronic illness – illnesses including conditions such as arthritis which are often characterized by persisting pain
- Congenital deformities – such as spine fractures or scoliosis
- Altered nervous systems – pain signals can be received by your nervous system even when there is no obvious injury or cause
Chronic pain might have an underlying cause that can be treated successfully, or it could be the managing of pain that may be the top priority. Sometimes the cause of the pain is not known, but there are still pain management techniques that can be used to treat pain symptoms.
The Relationship Between Opioid Addiction and Chronic Pain
Why do many people with chronic end up developing a dependence on opioids? It is not a fact of life that one leads to the other. Indeed, doctors are becoming more careful about prescribing opioids to treat pain. Even if they do, responsible and monitored use can decrease the chances of developing an addiction.
The effectiveness of opioids as painkillers is indisputable. Managing your pain can help not only provide physical relief but also tackle the issues like mental health changes and sleep disorders that arise as a result of it. As such, opioids are used to provide a better quality of life for many. The medication that might be prescribed includes the following:
As mentioned, there are indeed non-opioid treatments available, which we will cover further. When it comes to developing an opioid addiction, however, these medications are commonly the instigating factors. As mentioned, the responsible use of opioids is possible. However, to achieve that, it’s essential to communicate frequently and honestly with your doctor about how your pain responds, about side effects, about any alterations you have to your dosage, and so on.
The Consequences of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is often linked to various other problems. It might be caused by an illness or injury that causes other issues or it can disrupt your life in a number of ways. Many people find that chronic pain causes fatigue and sleeplessness because it’s difficult to sleep — being in pain can be physically and mentally exhausting.
People often find themselves needing to rest more often and might find it difficult to maintain their previous level of activity. Other consequences of pain might include a decreased appetite or reduced immune system, and many people also experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and mood swings.
Common Treatments for Chronic Pain
A variety of medications can be used to treat chronic pain. Both prescription medications and over-the-counter medications might be used to help manage chronic pain. For example, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (paracetamol), ibuprofen, or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) might be recommended. However, these medications can cause side effects when used in the long term, so other solutions are often needed.
Prescription pain medication can include a number of different options, including opioid medications like those based on oxycodone or hydrocodone. These include brand names such as Percocet, OxyContin, and Vicodin. Although these medications are commonly prescribed, they can be highly addictive. There are many concerns about the rate at which they are prescribed and how the opioid prescription problem can be addressed. It’s very important to carefully consider the need for opioid medications to treat physical pain. There are alternatives to consider for those who want to avoid the use of opioids, whether it’s because they are recovering from an addiction or want to avoid the risk of developing one.
Other types of medication that might be prescribed to help deal with chronic pain include antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Some studies have shown that antidepressants can help to lessen chronic pain by increasing the availability of the body’s natural neurotransmitters. Anticonvulsants, which are usually prescribed for people with seizures or tremors, can also be useful for some people– possibly because they disrupt the flow of pain signals in the body.
Although there are medications that can be effective in helping manage pain, there are also other ways to make it more manageable with some practical reasons that you might want to avoid the use of pain medication. Learn more ways to stay sober with chronic pain.
How do you stay sober when living with chronic pain?
Opioids are not the only option you have when it comes to treatment while living with chronic pain. There are a variety of over-the-counter medications, prescription non-opioids, pain-relieving products, and other methods to manage that pain as well. These include the following:
- Muscle relaxants
- Topical creams and balms (such as lidocaine)
- Pain management techniques learned through cognitive behavioral therapy and other counseling methods
- Coping strategies like breath work, video games, and meditation can help distract and habituate you to pain, while also helping to fight stress and anxiety
- A healthy diet and exercise decrease weight, reduce inflammation and improve sleep.
- Electrotherapy may be able to block pain signals, reducing your experience of pain
Inpatient Treatment for Chronic Pain to Avoid Risk of Prescription Medication Abuse
The U.S. has a growing problem with opioid addiction. According to statistics, roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them, and between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder. In addition, an estimated 4 to 6 percent of people who misuse prescription opioids then go on to use heroin, and about 80 percent of heroin users first misused opioids. Some of the commonly abused medications include Vicodin, OxyContin, Dilaudid, and Valium.
Residential Treatment for Opioid Addiction
The first step for people dealing with problems related to opioid addiction is to seek treatment. Inpatient treatment for chronic pain-related opioid addiction is often regarded to be the most effective option, allowing recovery surrounded by qualified and caring professionals. The inpatient treatment for chronic pain gives patients the opportunity to focus on their recovery primarily. With doctors and nurses to provide medical support and medication management, as well as personalized treatment, residential rehabilitation offers an effective way to manage opioid addiction. The right treatment program can help to provide an alternative treatment for chronic pain while helping with addiction recovery.
Managing Chronic Pain During Addiction Recovery
If you are seeking treatment for opioid addiction, it’s necessary to have alternative treatments to help manage chronic pain. For example, it’s possible to learn mental techniques that help to deal with pain. A therapist or counselor can teach these techniques, which can help you to manage your pain yourself. Some people might find that meditation helps them manage pain. There’s also evidence that simply doing things that you enjoy can help you to manage your pain. The chemicals released by your brain when you’re enjoying yourself can help to offer pain relief. For some people, exercise might be helpful for pain. Some people who suffer from arthritis can benefit from gentle exercise that helps to prevent stiffness in their joints.
Other pain management methods include hot and cold therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy, therapeutic massage, and a number of other options. Some people can benefit from using a range of techniques to manage their pain without relying on medication. If you are dealing with opioid addiction, you can discover alternative methods to manage your pain during your recovery so that you can tackle your addiction and address one of the problems that led to your abuse of prescription pain medication.
Inpatient treatment for chronic pain and depression is a proven way to treat the two issues. Take the time to recover and benefit from the support of professionals who can help with both addiction treatment and chronic pain management in order to get your life back.