The misuse of and addiction to opioids in the United States is a national crisis. Each day, more than 130 people across the nation die of opioid overdose. Opioids are powerful pain medications. Understanding opioid history, their addictive properties, and modern alternatives for effective pain therapy can help patients and their families collaborate with medical providers to find effective, accessible pain management plans that reduce the chance for misuse and addiction.
How the Opioid Crisis Began
The opioid epidemic started in the late 1990’s. At that time the U.S. medical community was reassured by pharmaceutical companies that opioid pain relievers were not addictive. As a result, medical providers started prescribing opioids at a greater rate to aid patients in pain management when recovering from surgery or living with chronic pain.
By 2017, opioid misuse, both prescribed and non-prescribed, spread across the country and illustrated that opioids were indeed addictive and lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to declare the opioid epidemic public health emergency. Change to the prescribing standards and accessibility of opioids was critical and continues to be addressed today.
In 2019, the medical community is focused on finding alternative options for pain management to reduce the use and misuse of opioids. Prescribing more medications or greater dosages at a moment’s notice is no longer the answer. At Sun Pain Management, we take great care in offering a wide array of non-narcotic pain relief treatments and modalities to aid our patients in managing all aspects of their pain and improving their quality of life.
What is a multimodal approach to pain management?
A multimodal approach to pain management is the use of two or more treatments, methods, or medications with a patient. Many organizations, including the American Pain Society, American Society of Anesthesiologists, and Joint Commission, advocate for multimodal treatments, due to their success rates and alignment with the HHS’s 5-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis.
Medication management is also an essential element of proper medical care for patients with pain. When more than one medication or medical treatment is taken by a patient, medication management is needed to ensure that the medications do not have hazardous interaction or slow time to recovery. Providers may advise to adjust or reduce a patient’s number of medications to ensure the best medical outcomes.
Sun Pain Management is committed to effective medication management. Our scientific evidence-based services and protocols ensure that our patients reduce time to recovery, improve their quality of life while living with chronic pain, and minimize the chances for opiate addiction.
Pain Management: Expectations vs. Reality
Despite the evidence, startling statistics, and continuous media coverage of the Opioid Epidemic, some patients may be resistant to nonnarcotic treatments for pain. Change is difficult, especially for patients with a medication history that has included opiates. It is always a medical providers goal to help patients receive the best care, which includes proper medication management and extreme caution when prescribing opioids for pain.
As a patient, we suggest spending some time thinking about how you would describe your pain to your provider or specialist. Here are 10 questions to consider that can be helpful to you and your pain management specialist.
- Where is my pain specifically located?
- What originally caused my pain?
- Is my pain constant or does it come and go?
- Does my pain show up or worsen at specific times or during certain activities?
- Does my pain radiate, move around, or stay in one place?
- How has my pain impacted my quality of life?
- What am I doing now to manage my pain?
- What pain medications have I taken in the past and did they work?
- What medications do I currently take, including dosage?
- What is my goal for pain management?
It can be difficult to hear no, or be offered an alternative modality from your pain specialist when requesting a specific medication or refill. As with preparing for your appointment, we recommend asking questions when faced with new information or an unexpected response to learn more about the logic behind their recommendations, verses leaning into defensiveness or anger.
At Sun Pain Management, we are partners in our patient’s healthcare journey. With a variety of treatments and modalities available, we create personalized treatment plans to meet each patient’s unique needs. We advocate for our patients and extend a compassionate, multimodal approach to help them manage all aspects of their pain and maximize patient quality of life.
If you feel you have an addiction to pain medication and are seeking professional help, please contact our office. There may be another path for you.