“Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.” Dr. Albert Schweitzer, French physician, 1931
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), defined pain as an “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.” Since pain has troubled and perplexed humans for generations, various cures have been developed through the years to alleviate sufferings and struggles inflicted by it.
As chronic pain has the potential to disrupt life and trigger other kinds of problems, many people are not hesitant to try all kinds of painkillers to achieve instant relief. Despite being considered safe by a large number of people, commonly prescribed opioid painkillers increase the chances of developing a range of problems, such as depression, addiction, overdose, etc., especially when consumed without any medical supervision for self-medication purposes. Looking at the repercussions of opioid painkillers, medical practitioners are recommending safer alternatives like physical training or physiotherapy to patients.
The theories on the origin of pain and associated treatments have varied through the ages. The early Greeks and Romans held the idea that the perception of pain originated in the brain. This argument has played a key role in determining the treatment. It also necessitates the need to root out the problem by changing the perception through pharmacologic or nonpharmacologic therapies. Lately, the emphasis is more upon nonopioid pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments.
Pain inflicts disabilities and adds to economic burden
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), chronic pain affects almost 100 million Americans. In fact, it has emerged as the leading cause of long-term disability and a major contributor to health care costs. It is cited as the primary reason for which Americans access the health care system. These factors have enunciated debates upon the need to ensure safe and effective management of pain.
In a survey conducted by the National Institute of Health Statistics, the four common types of pain reported by respondents were lower back pain (27 percent), severe headache or migraine (15 percent) and neck pain (15 percent), and facial ache or pain (4 percent). As such, there are diverse pain conditions that require different treatment approaches. Oftentimes, pain is also accompanied by mental disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc.
Pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment options
Since 1999 the incidence of prescribing opioids to Americans has gone up. In many cases, opioids have been the savior of mankind when prescribed responsibly. Besides triggering mental disorders misuse of opioids can result in an overdose or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when one suddenly stops using them. Moreover, addiction to opioids opens the doors to abuse of other substances, especially heroin.
Hence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged health care providers to reduce the use of opioids in favor of safer alternatives for treating pain. Opioids should be the last resort as they only mask the pain and not remove the problem from the root.
Some of the experiential nondrug remedies for pain management that have no dangers of side effects are physical therapy, yoga, acupuncture, acupressure, Tai Chi, art and music therapy, pet therapy, psychotherapy, massage and meditation, etc. Many such nonpharmacologic therapies include weight loss for knee osteoarthritis, psychological therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and certain interventional procedures that can alleviate chronic pain.
Experiential therapies for safer management of pain
Pain usually warrants the prescription of painkillers. However, the long-term use and high dosage of opioids inevitably result in myriad problems for the users. The increased proclivity toward opioid painkillers has become a major health concern. However, the recommended guidelines from the CDC regarding the prescription of opioid painkillers have been hailed as a welcome step to contain the epidemic of prescription painkillers.
If you or your loved one is addicted to prescription drugs, contact the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline to get assistance in finding the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline 866-450-1557 or chat online with our representatives to know about the most reputable and comprehensive prescription drug abuse treatment centers in your area.