Many people who are treating chronic pain after car accidents or who have had serious injuries often find aid in pain management by medication. However, there has been a widespread opioid epidemic that has swept across the United States within the last 10 years. The CDC reported that over 2 million Americans either abused or addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are a form of medication known as analgesics. Analgesics can also be classified as pain relievers. Opioids, however, are prescription only pain relievers that are synthetic opiates. These drugs can give a euphoric feeling reducing the perception of pain. Opioids interact with specific proteins within the opioid receptors throughout your body. When the opioid drug attaches to these receptors located on your spinal cord or within your brain, they will alter your perception of pain.
What are the Side Effects of Opioids?
Common side effects from opioid medications are:
- Itching or hives
It is quite common for people to develop an opioid tolerance. If this occurs, long term management would require an increased dosage. A less, yet still common, issue people may experience is not taking the full prescribed amount. When this occurs, a small tolerance can still build in your system and the use of these medications are not as effective as intended.
What do I Need to Consider if I Choose Opioids for Pain Relief?
In 2013 prescribers wrote almost a quarter of a billion opioid prescriptions. One in every 4 patients receiving long term opioid therapy may see struggles with addiction. According to the ASAM, most Americans that died from opioid overdose were prescribed benzodiazepines at the same time. Benzodiazepines are depressants used to sedate and relieve the central nervous system. The use of both drugs potentially will stop a person’s breathing.
Anyone can become addicted to opioids. Researchers have found that there are some risk factors that may lead to opioid abuse or overdose. These factors may include:
- Overlapping prescriptions for pain relievers from different doctors and having multiple pharmacies
- Inappropriate prescribing practices
- High daily doses
- Extended release for pain relievers while treating acute pain
- History of mental illness or substance abuse
What are Providers Doing to Make a Difference?
To reverse the abuse of opioids, medical practitioners and hospitals have now started to to avoid prescribing opioids such as methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Along with lessening the use of pain prescriptions, different forms of holistic therapies are being put in place, such as chiropractic care to help with chronic pain. Many pain management physicians are starting to refer patients to qualified chiropractors. A doctor prescribing these medications should be doing a risk assessment that will ask for your current prescribed medications as well as any family medical history. Most doctors and pharmacies are now signing treatment contracts as well as pharmacy agreements to prevent the misuse of opioids. During opioid therapy, a doctor may also conduct random urine screenings to ensure that there has been no unusual usage of medications. Speak openly to your prescribing physician or specialist about your concerns in your own medical history to ensure any prescribed medication would be right for you.
Chiropractic Healthcare Center Is An Alternative To Opioids
If you have been the victim of an auto injury or any other type of personal injury, be sure to contact Chiropractic Healthcare Center. We do our best to treat our patients in a way that minimizes or all out removes the need for opioids. We have eight convenient locations with our qualified and caring chiropractors in Dallas-Fort Worth ready to help ease your pain. We’re not just qualified, we care!