Chronic Pain and Addiction
Chronic Pain can be very discomforting and life changing. Dealing with chronic pain both as a patient
and as a physician can be and is very challenging. There are now many modalities of treatment,
however the cause of the pain must be clearly elucidated to have an effective treatment.
One of the most disconcerting aspect of treating chronic pain is the tendency for reliance on the medication. Most
of the pain medication now in use have the potential for arousing dependence in the user. This leads to strict guidelines
in the use and the prescribing of the pain medications. Usually, there is need for a special pain medication physician
to be involved. Most importantly is the need to stick to one physician.
the point at which the patient has gone from the actual treatment of pain to dependence on pain medication for a sense of
well being is critical. This may involve frank confrontation with the patient.
When patient starts looking at the clock and demanding pain meds on the precise hour, or demanding a specific type
of medication by name, or when they start asking other doctors to fill their scripts, or trying to get family members to fill
scripts on their behalf, then the patient needs to realize he/she is entering in a zone of dependence and addiction.
Very often the patient describes allergies to every other medication but the one desired.
Treating pain is mainly treating symptoms which camouflage the perception of pain. The real and definite
objective is to remove the need for the pain medication by treating and addressing the root cause.
Patients often will need surgical intervention to eliminate or modify the cause of the pain. They will often need
physical therapy to modulalte their body attitude. They may need medical equipment. These needs must be also addressed.
Often patients who are pain medication dependent will avoid the solutions described.
If you feel that your need for pain medication is increasing or you fall in the category described above, do not
hesitate to discuss with your physician. There might be solution for you. You must first need to have this solution.