Part I: 3 Reasons Most Pain Management Fails
Pain management in its most conventional sense (and how I am referring to it here) refers to the management of pain using medications typically of the opioid class (oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, etc). This form of treatment, while initially helpful, typically offers no longterm solution. The fallacy is that, your level of pain will be less with these opioid medications than without. We will point out why this is not always true and why pain management often fails at resolving or keeping pain under control.
Pain Management Background
Generally speaking the goal of pain management is to reduce pain to a level that it does not interfere with your daily activities. This can create problems when the medications effect your ability to think, drive, and function normally. If you are currently using phoenix pain management services, you know this to be true. Still many feel they have exhausted their treatment options and have no other choice until they explore holistic pain management and acupuncture phoenix treatment options. Now, let's explore how traditional pain management often fails and what you can do about it.
Pain Management: Opiate-induced Hyperalgesia
The amount of people that have to resort to opiate based medication for pain, is staggering. Yet I know from treating addiction and pain, that this does not have to be the case. Similarly, I also know that some people need these medications to treat their pain. The later is more of the exception than the rule. Yet from the amount of people taking these medications, it would appear that the opposite were true. Let's look at the some of the physiological problems that arise from these medications and what it means for treating your pain.
Many start on opiate based medications to deal with the immediate pain and find that their dose of medication keeps escalating higher and higher. Often times the original injury or trauma the medications were prescribed for will be resolved. The pain you are left with is called opiate induced hyperalgesia. Not knowing this many will continue to take the medication to deal with this pain, not knowing that it is causing their pain.
Opiate-induced hyperalgesia is a phenomenon or condition that develops from taking opiate medications for an extended period of time (typically 2-3 months but as little as 2-4 weeks). Overtime people on pain management with opiates develop a heightened sense of pain and awareness to otherwise normal (non-painful) stimuli. It can sometimes leave the person with pain in different areas outside the original problem. The symptoms can present similar to a fibromyalgia like pattern (pain all over the body).
The exact mechanism of how or why this occurs in the body is poorly understood. It seems to involve pathways in the brain, at the spinal cord, and pathways from the body to the brain as well. The important thing to note is that if you are receiving pain management with opiate medication, be aware of escalating doses. The increased dose may be warranted but your increased pain may also be a result of heightened sensitivity in your nervous system (opiate-induced hyperalgesia). This is of great importance since increasing the dose will likely only make matters worse over time. It can increase the pain but also increase your tolerance and physical dependency.
In Part II we will explore 2 other reason pain management often fails those suffering from pain. We will also look at some holistic pain management treatment options for those in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
To learn more about some of these holistic medical options from a naturopathic doctor Scottsdale like acupuncture in Phoenix or Scottsdale, give us a call or click on the free consult link below.