Pain killers the not so NEW Epidemic plaguing our country!

So many hear these words right after surgery, “The key to getting better is to stay ahead of the pain, decrease stress on the body for faster recovery.” These words have a different meaning today than yesterday.  Pain relievers such as Oxycodone, Vicodin, Fentanyl and other prescription opioids work by binding to Mu-opioid receptors in regions of the brain which regulate pain perception including pain induced emotional responses and brain reward regions (NEJM 2016).  Many of these medications are intended for short term acute pain relief. With the use of these medications, the brain desires the analgesic effects and with prolonged use of these medications, they can lead to reward conditioning, leading to dependence. This is why we have a major issue today!  This did not occur overnight. In early 2000, Physicians were told the likely hood of addiction to these medication was rare and were encouraged to prescribe without supporting research. Based on literature from the New England Journal of Medicine, this resulted in quadrupled number of opioid prescriptions from 2000-2015.

How does this affect me?  Based on statistics from CNN in 2016, sales from opioids in the United States increased by 600%.  According to the New England Journal of Medicine approximately 100 million people in the United States suffer from pain with 10 percent having chronic pain. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported more than 240 million prescriptions were written for opioids in 2014, which is more than the number of adult Americans. Bottom line, more drugs, more drug related deaths. Ninety-One Americans die every day from opioid overdose including children, teens, adults, and elderly. That is over one million deaths due to overdose.  Dependence can occur quickly even to innocent, unsuspecting patients with the best intentions.

Quick recap:

Opioids are not effective long term treatment choices for chronic pain.  The risk of addiction of opioids is a real concern even if you experience real pain.

Recommendations:

CDC guidelines now indicate

  1. Opioid are not first line or routine therapy for chronic pain.

  2. When opioids are started, start low dose then go slow.

  3. Avoid prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines.

 References:

New England Journal of Medicine

Center for Disease Control

CNN

How to overcome chronic pain?

Manage your pain by changing your experience of pain:  modifying our mind and bodies response to pain thru diet, exercise, healthy living, and daily stretching.

What can we do for you?

We focus on treating the source of pain. Pain is a complex experience needing to manage by Physicians who are able to design customized programs built specifically for the individual. We use leading clinical proven therapies with traditional western and eastern medicine blended together in a comprehensive pain management program to achieve effective results.

By | 2018-05-07T08:43:18+00:00 May 1st, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , |

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