How Bad Does It Hurt?

There is no other area of pharmacy treatment that has the stigma associated with it as does the treatment of chronic pain with opiate medications.   Unfortunately, these medications are known to sometimes cause addictive behavior.  For this reason, pharmacists and other health care professionals may inadvertently appear suspicious before they get to know you as a patient.

When a patient accidentally throws out their blood pressure medication with the trash, it is
usually taken care of with little question. When a patient accidentally throws out their narcotic pain medication with the trash, the pharmacists and doctors immediately have a stream of questions regarding the legitimacy of this claim. This is unfortunate and is a very difficult topic to address.

There are many reasons for chronic pain and many, many treatments. I am not planning on discussing the different options for treatment, these are all readily available on the AudibleRxTM website.

I would like to bring the general discussion of long term pain itself to the forefront. Pain cannot be measured like diabetes and hypertension. Most medical conditions can be verified with blood tests or x-rays and then categorized and documented. There are currently no blood levels we can do or specific vital signs we can take that give us an accurate measurement of pain. Pain is subjective. We ask the patient to put the pain somewhere on the scale from 1-10 with 10 being the worst pain. All anyone has to compare it to be the pain they had yesterday, or the year before...

How does the health professional know if the patient is in pain? Well, by listening to the patient and if they say they are in pain, most likely they are. Of course, there are patient history notes, past treatments, social and economic considerations, and family issues to review; however, we are working with the patient sitting with us today.

How long does a patient need to stay on pain medication therapy? As long as the Doctor and the Patient think it is necessary. The understanding is clear that over time, the body begins to develop a tolerance to opiate pain therapy. What is not clear is the exact mechanism that allows this tolerance to develop.

The central nervous system has many adaptive capabilities. It is generally understood that the brain “adapts” to the opiates.  Over the course of several months to years, the body is able tolerate a significantly higher dose of opiate pain medication than it could when you took your first dose.  The question is; has the pain really increased that much? Well, to the patient, yes it has because the brain has adapted to the current level of opiate treatment and needs more treat the pain.

We all need to be part of our own treatment. We need to talk to our doctors and pharmacists and therapists and family....and anyone else who will listen, to help us realize what is our best pain treatment path to follow.   

You may also be interested in reading my blog on Spinal Pain Medication Treatment Options or my blog on Bone and Joint Pain Medication Treatment Options.

To learn about the medications used for pain, please register to becomea member of AudibleRxTM and have full access to all of the Medication Specific Counseling SessionsTM.  Please visit the Medications pageof AudibleRxTM to see all of the counseling sessions currently available. 

Copyright AudibleRx (TM), all rights reserved. Please do not copy or publish or distribute without consent and approval from AudibleRx (TM).