Chronic Pain Treatment – The Double Jeopardy of Opiates: Addiction and Hyperalgesia
People with chronic non‐cancer pain who are prescribed and are taking opioids can have a history of long term high dose opioid use without effective pain relief. The usefulness of using opioid pain medication for long-term treatment of chronic pain has been found to be tentative at best. However, opioids continue to be prescribed by doctors for non-cancer chronic pain. This creates double jeopardy for the pain sufferer in both becoming addicted to the medication and being vulnerable to a condition known as hyperalgesia.
The addiction epidemic in the United States is well documented. People who are prescribed opiates for short-term pain fall prey to the addictive nature of this class of drugs. For those who suffer from chronic pain and are prescribed opiates, the trap of addiction slams its door shut, often with the patient unaware until it is too late. Further, the condition of chronic pain changes the brain on top of the changes in the brain caused by addiction.
Another tragic piece of the puzzle for patients who are treated for their chronic pain with opioid medication is the susceptibility to opioid-induced hyperalgesia. I should know. I was one of who knows how many chronic pain sufferers who were prescribed opiates and ended up with more pain than I did at the start.
Hyperalgesia is an increased sensitivity to pain. Opioid-induced hyperalgesia is a paradoxical abnormal sensitivity to pain and has been associated with the long-term use of opioids. Not only can we as chronic pain patients taking opiate medication become more sensitive to pain, we can also experience a long-lasting increase in our sensitivity to pain.
I lived through many years of trying to find a solution to my chronic pain condition. I experienced all the above conditions: changes in the brain due to chronic pain and addiction, and opioid-induced hyperalgesia. I feel I would be remiss if I did not encourage all chronic pain sufferers to find non-pharmaceutical solutions to their pain dilemma.
My journey out of chronic pain was one of finding a number of powerful modalities to help my body clear itself of the pain. Non-pharmaceutical means of treating chronic pain are available, though I would not go so far as to say widely available. I learned a number of tools to unleash the grip of chronic pain from me and found a way to live a life free from suffering.
For a foundational work on nonpharmaceutical methods of approaching chronic pain, please see Dr. Peter Przekop’s “Conquer Chronic Pain: An Innovative Mind-Body Approach” at https://bit.ly/PPrzekopConquerChronicPain
For complementary mentoring for chronic pain patients, supportive of your doctor and/or therapists, I invite you to a complimentary conversation with me at https://bitly.com/MeetWithElizabeth