Pain Management and Avoiding Addiction

Pain Management and Avoiding Addiction

When you are experiencing chronic pain or acute pain, managing it to live a better quality of life is crucial. But this must be balanced very carefully if you have a history of addiction or are genetically predisposed to it. This blog looks at strategies you can use to avoid addiction while finding relief from injury and illness.

If you or a loved one could benefit from 12 Steps to Recovery, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn about our comfortable residential setting. 

Understanding Pain and Addiction

Pain is a subjective experience where pain level can vastly differ from someone else despite having a similar injury or disease. Because of this, knowing what will work for you is partially experimentation. But one key thing to keep in mind is that certain painkillers, such as opioids, should be avoided if you experience addiction to other substances, have an addictive personality, or have family with a history of addiction. 

Non-Pharmacological Pain Management

If you are concerned about addiction, you should first try every method you can to reduce your pain without substances that can become addictive. Some methods are:

  1. Physical Therapy. Physically therapy is excellent for musculoskeletal disorders and conditions. It can help rebalance your body, increase mobility, and help with everyday tasks. 
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT helps us analyze our thoughts and spot thoughts that are not true or desirable. This can help us change our perception of pain.
  3. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques. Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help you move through intense pain by relaxing and distracting you for a short time. 
  4. Acupuncture. This is when needles are placed into specific points of the body to alleviate pain. It is a traditional Chinese medicine that some find helpful. 
  5. Chiropractic Care. Chiropractors offer adjustments that can relieve pain, but this should not be used if damage or deformity is involved.

Pharmacological Pain Management

There are some medications that can be used to relieve pain, and may work for you. Speak to your doctor about what might work best. 

  1. Non-Opioid Medications. Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help with some types of pain. 
  2. Antidepressants. These can help reduce stress and therefore make your muscles less tense and reduce pain. 
  3. Anticonvulsants. These can sometimes also help manage pain. 
  4. Opioid Use with Caution. Opioids will cause physical addiction and, therefore, withdrawal symptoms when stopped suddenly. However, this is true of many medications, including antidepressants. If you need opioids, it’s important to work with your doctor to avoid addiction by taking them exactly as prescribed.  

Strategies to Avoid Addiction

If you need to take stronger medications for your pain that may cause addiction, there are some strategies you can use to avoid relapsing or becoming addicted.

  1. Open Communication with Healthcare Providers. Be honest with your care providers and let them know if you believe you may become addicted or have problems with addiction. They can help keep you accountable.
  2. Education on Medication Use. Learn how your medication works, when it is best to use it, and understand all of the risks of the medication. You should stick to your regime strictly and notice when you need more pain relief. If you do notice this, avoid taking more and instead speak with your doctor. 
  3. Regular Monitoring and Follow-Up. See your doctor often so they can monitor how the medication is affecting you. 
  4. Support Systems. Reach out to those around you and create a support group. Let them know the signs of addiction so they can help you watch out for it.
  5. Healthy Lifestyle Choices. Stay as healthy as your pain allows. This could mean exercise or specific diets that help to minimize your discomfort. Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night and also avoiding stress that could trigger addiction. 

Pain Management & Addiction

Pain management often has several layers of care to help mitigate the adverse effects on your life and help you maintain functioning. But if you need to take addictive medications, it’s essential to keep in close contact with a support system and your doctor. If you are in the unfortunate position of becoming addicted to substances to help soothe the physical pain you experience, this has no reflection on you morally; physical pain is a complex, difficult challenge that takes a lot of support and strength to handle. Those who have become addicted due to pain may benefit from rehab. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, let Myrtle Beach Recovery assist you with our 12-step immersion program. Our experienced staff will guide you through the steps to help you regain control of your life. Contact us today.