Finding a way to manage acute or chronic pain when you’re a recovering addict can be one of the most difficult challenges. There are of course pain treatment alternatives that may help, but when all else fails, treating the condition with painkillers may be the only choice left.
Doctors who are aware that they are working with a recovering addict will try to avoid prescribing narcotics for their pain. It’s a tricky situation because not treating the pain can also eventually lead to relapse. What should you do when faced with this dilemma?
First off, increase contact with your support system. This could be a 12 step group, sponsor, supportive family members, a therapist, or sober friends who are there for you. You need to feel that your condition is important and won’t just be ignored.
There are resources out there for doctors, patients, and family members who are dealing with this kind of dilemma. Being aware of the options available to you for pain management and communicating with your physician will make a big difference in handling your pain safely and effectively.
Pain Treatment For A Person In Recovery
It’s important for a physician to keep in touch with a patient who is a recovering addict when managing pain. There should be regular check ins with their levels of pain as well as a willingness to adjust treatment when needed. Before prescribing pain medication, it’s important to try other methods first.
Applied heat, ice packs, lots of rest, and elevating the part of the body in pain are often very effective methods. Alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and even physical therapy may also be effective. When none of methods work, a patient will need to start thinking about pain medication treatment.
There are several non addictive pain medications out there that may provide relief. Acetaminophen, aspirin, and anti inflammatory drugs can all be used. Be sure that there is only one physician in charge of prescribing medications. If narcotic pain medications are absolutely necessary for treating the pain, then there are a few precautions that must be taken.
The patient should go in for office visits frequently and medication supplies should be prescribed only in the limited amounts needed. Early refills are absolutely not allowed. The physician should be familiar with treating a patient with a history of substance abuse. If not, he or she should consult with other medical professionals who specialize in addiction and pain management for additional guidance.
Something that a physician should be aware of when treating a patient in recovery for pain is cross tolerance. This phenomena occurs when a patient develops a tolerance to a new medication because of an existing tolerance to another substance. This can be a factor in pain management when a patient in recovery requires a higher dosage of medication than normal to enjoy the benefit.
A doctor needs to be aware of the fact that higher dosages may be needed as a condition worsens or progresses. To determine the right dosage for a patient means means keeping side effects to a minimum while still effectively treating the pain.
Other Helpful Tips For Managing Pain With Medication
If relapse is a big concern, a patient can choose to hand over their medication to a person they trust to dispense it as needed. Along with regular checkups, a patient can also choose to keep a diary about their daily experience with pain and mediation to ensure that their treatment stays within healthy boundaries.
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