There are many causes of chronic pain – injury, accident or illness. One of the biggest healthcare crisis of our times is the opioid abuse crisis. Opioids are typically prescribed for severe and/or chronic pain, to which the patient ultimately develops tolerance and becomes addicted. However, an integrated approach that includes pharmacotherapy, physical therapy, individual counseling, and group support, can be the right choice for patients suffering from chronic pain. Drug rehab with pain management includes this approach for the effective treatment of chronic pain.
According to a recently published study, patients who suffer from drug addiction and chronic pain tend to receive inadequate pain control compared to non-addicted patients. Doctors in rehab facilities may be hesitant to provide opioid pain medications given their predisposition to addiction. However, these patients deserve adequate relief is the pain is severe, the same way as any other patient. Drug rehabilitation for chronic pain is an approach that treats the patient’s substance abuse without compromising pain control.
Chronic pain can debilitating — physically, emotionally and socially. The end results of under-treated pain can be isolation, depression, substance abuse or worse, suicide.
Chronic pain is actually underreported. Many patients suffer from it and assume it as a part of growing old. Adequate pain control can dramatically improve their quality of life and functionality.
It is true as well that prescription painkillers can be abused. These patients are vulnerable to getting addicted as they develop tolerance to them. This is why it is extremely important to provide them with pain in a controlled setting with careful monitoring. Patients undergoing drug rehab are in a structured program under careful supervision and it is important to provide them with adequate pain relief and monitor them for warning signs of abuse.
Having said that, giving alternatives to opioids for pain relief is advisable in patients with a past or current history of substance abuse. Some of the non-opioid options for pain relief, with varying degree of strength and efficacy, include buprenorphine, psychological counseling and behavioral modification, massage, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and herbal therapy, physical therapy, etc.
Psychotherapy can help identify negative behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to addiction, but it is not an actual pain relief method. Drug rehab with pain management focuses on not only substance abuse and pain control components but also other facets of health, such as nutrition, exercise, etc. As drug addicts tend to ignore these, addressing them is likely to help them regain physical and mental health. Pain should not be ignored. It should be addressed by the right clinicians and a personalized plan for pain relief should be sketched out keeping in view the unique history and health status of each patient. A comprehensive approach is likely to yield successful results in the recovery process of the patients and improve their overall quality of life.