Pain management is a relatively newer field of medicine that involves non-surgical treatment and modalities to treat chronic pain. Pain relieving medication can sometimes be recommended as the best course of treatment but it is recommended very carefully due to the addictive nature of pain medication.
There are roughly 116 million people who suffer from chronic pain. The potential risks involved with long-term treatment, such as the development of drug tolerance (and the need for escalating doses), hyperalgesia (increased pain sensitivity), and addiction. Patients themselves may even refuse to take an opioid prescribed to them for fear of becoming addicted. Estimates of addiction among chronic pain patients vary widely from about 3 to 40 percent.
Pain management doctors and physicians screen their patients for potential risk factors of developing an addiction to pain medicine. These factors include personal or family history of drug abuse or mental illness. Monitoring patients for signs of abuse is also crucial, and yet some indicators can signify multiple conditions, making accurate assessment challenging. Early or frequent requests for prescription pain medication refills, for example, could represent illness progression, the development of drug tolerance, or the emergence of a drug problem.
Drug addiction is a serious issue and is in the hands of the patient and their physician to choose a treatment course that’s most effective and appropriate for each patient. If you are feeling like your life depends on pain medication, seek the help of a pain management specialist – your dosage could be off and it could be causing you to become addicted. It’s ok if you suffer from these side-effects from a previous injury but please make sure to seek the help of a medical professional.