Often referred to as ‘narcotics, ‘ opioids are beneficial in many medical settings and may be used to treat chronic or acute pain. Yet, they also have a high chance of abuse and can lead to a dangerous addiction that is accompanied by life-altering side effects and even death. At any dose, even in low amounts, opioid medications come with a risk. However, they are not needed in all situations for pain management, and several safer options can offer better relief.
The Risks Of Opioid Addiction
Opioid addiction has several factors that make it a dangerous habit, and these include the following:
- Increased Tolerance: Your body will naturally tolerate opioids with continued use. This tolerance demands greater and greater doses for the medication to be effective, which can lead to a higher risk of heart failure and other medical conditions related to opioid overdose.
- Dependence: Overusing narcotic medication can change your brain’s chemistry, where you may become dependent on the drug for day-to-day function. This may mean that you can’t stop the medication even if you want to and raises the possibility of painful or deadly withdrawals should you stop taking narcotics.
- Opioid Use Disorder is a chronic brain disease where addiction to the medication can lead patients to overuse and self-prescribe ever-growing doses. The chance of overdose, even with a moderate case, is over six times more likely with those who develop this type of addiction.
If you or a loved one are suffering from opioid addiction, it is vital to ask your doctor for a prescription for Naloxone, which can assist in rapidly treating narcotic overdoses.
Alternatives To Opioids For Pain Management
While opioids can be frightening even when properly prescribed, there are several equally or more effective ways to help fight pain. These will depend upon your condition, and you should always consult a doctor before changing your medication or pain management routine.
- Alternative drugs can help with nerve or musculoskeletal pain in several ways without the adverse side effects of narcotics.
- Anticonvulsant medicines like Gabapentin can reduce mild nerve pain and are often prescribed for conditions such as shingles.
- Antidepressant medicines may help treat some conditions related to muscle and bone pain by increasing the neurotransmitters in your spine to reduce discomfort.
- NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) pain relievers like Tylenol or Ibuprofen can reduce muscle swelling and treat mild bone pain.
- If you live in one of the 37 states where it has been legalized, medical marijuana-derived products have been shown in several studies to reduce muscle and nerve pain.
- Topical treatments, through the administration of medicated salves or balms, can reduce muscle swelling and mitigate skin-related pain.
- Trigger point injections, such as steroidal injections, can help promote tissue regrowth and reduce pain in some cases.
- Surgery, while the most radical option, may help relieve pain in localized areas of the body. Always consult with your doctor and try other pain relief methods before considering surgery, as it can sometimes offer a greater risk than the medications themselves and possibly require a lengthy recovery period.
Suffering from Chronic Pain? Our Team of Board Certified Doctors Can Help.
If you are suffering from chronic pain or opioid addiction as a treatment, it may be time to seek out the help of a professional regenerative medicine doctor. There is no better option for those in the Macomb, Wayne, and Oakland County area than Michigan Center for Regenerative Medicine. We will assess your condition and offer methods of treatment that can reduce pain and improve your overall quality of life. Call our clinic today to schedule a consultation with one of our Board Certified doctors.