Dangers of Opioids and Using Alternative Pain Management Techniques

opioids

If You Think Pain Killers Can Save You All The Time, Think Again!

Mark Twain once said, “too much of everything is bad.” Although painkillers were designed, studied, and created to help ease the pain, it is never wise to overuse them. Opioids are often prescribed by doctors to patients who experience agonizing pain but this isn’t the best long-term solution. Using opioids for a long period of time can lead to abuse which can lead to death.

Numerous Americans end up in rehab, in prison, or even in the grave all because of prescription painkiller abuse. They recorded 17,000 fatalities in 2010 alone. Drugs that block pain perception in the brain such as Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Codeine, Hydromorphone, Morphine, and Tramadol are the most commonly used and abused of all opioids.

Most opioids’ are naturally found in opium poppy plants. Morphine, Nicotine, and Heroin have the same relaxing feeling and gives a “high” like effect to the user that is why it is being strictly regulated to prevent drug abuse.

What are common prescription opioids?

  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin®) oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana®)
  • Morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®)
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

How do people misuse prescription opioids?

Presciption opioids can relieve moderate to severe pain. As prescribed by a doctor, Opioids are generally safe when taken for a short period of time. However, most opioids are being misused through these following ways:

  1. Taking opioids in a much higher dose other than prescribed
  2. Having someone else’s prescription opioid
  3. Taking opioids for the effect it causes-to get high
  4. When misusing a prescription opioid, a person can swallow the medicine in its normal form.
  5. Sometimes people crush pills or open capsules, dissolve the powder in water, and inject the liquid into a vein. Some also snort the powder.

What are some possible effects of prescription opioids on the brain and body?

In the short term, opioids can help relieve pain and make people feel relaxed and happy. However, opioids can also have harmful effects, which includes:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Euphoria
  • Slowed breathing

What are the other health effects of opioid medications?

Elders have a higher risk of accidental misuse or abuse because they usually have multiple prescriptions and chronic diseases, increasing the risk of drug-drug and drug-disease interactions, as well as a slow metabolism that can affect the breakdown of drugs.

Alternative Pain Management Techniques

There are other alternatives when it comes to managing pain. Medicines aren’t really the best option. Sometimes, you have to go for what’s natural so that you won’t have to keep ingesting too many chemicals in your body – especially if it’s for long-term use.

There a lot of alternatives to manage chronic pain. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Medical Marijuana: Natural and well established pain relieving compound and an increasingly popular alternative to traditional pain-relieving medications, including opioids. Marijuana may ease certain types of chronic pain, including pain resulting from nerve damage and inflammation.
  2. Regenerative Therapy: Process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function. It is a viable alternative for those who are suffering from chronic and acute tendon, ligament and muscle injuries. These treatments help the body heal or rebuild itself.
  3. Interventional Pain Management Techniques: Multidisciplinary approach, in which a team of health care professionals works together, to provide a full range of treatments and services for patients suffering from chronic and/or acute pain. The goals are to relieve, reduce, or manage pain and improve a patient’s overall quality of life through minimally invasive techniques specifically designed to diagnose and treat painful conditions.
  4. Physical Exercise: Walking, swimming, and even cycling are subtle aerobic activities that can help reduce chronic pain management for two of the most common chronic conditions which are arthritis and fibromyalgia.
  5. Cold and heat: This is the most common non-invasive method of pain management. A homemade hot or cold compress may do the trick but if it doesn’t, try seeking professional advice from physical therapists or a chiropractor for their own cold and heat pack version that can target deeper into the muscles and tissue.
  6. Mind-body techniques: Some of the examples of mind-body techniques are meditation, mindfulness, and even breathing exercises. These techniques can help you regain your sense of control over your body so that you can better manage your pain.
  7. Music: Listening to music can help you distract from any pain or discomfort you might be feeling. Studies have shown that classical music works best, but there’s no harm in trying your own taste in music.
  8. Yoga: Yoga helps breath control, meditation, and gentle movements to strengthen and stretch the muscles.
  9. Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy: Physical therapists guide you through a series of exercises that can help you regain and improve your strength and mobility while Occupational therapists have designed various daily activities that can help you aggravate your pain and at the same time bring back and/or bring out things that interests you.
  10. Therapeutic Massage: Getting a massage may sound a bit extravagant for some but for people who are experiencing chronic pain, massages are a blessing because they help ease the pain by working tension out of muscles and joints, which in turn, can relieve stress and anxiety. This could help you distract yourself from the pain that you are feeling.

Choosing the right doctor is such a crucial decision. You have to make sure that your doctor not only has good word-of-mouth reviews but online reviews as well. Fortunately, Dr. Ronak Patel is one of the best pain management doctors in New Jersey. He has helped a lot of patients that suffer from chronic pain. To set an appointment, call him at his pain management clinic in New Jersey at 609-269-4451.