Opioid addiction is challenging in and of itself. For recovering addicts, trying to manage pain without the use of more opioids, managing pain can be tricky. Relapse can occur with a new injury or disease, so ensuring you have support and care is crucial.
Ready today’s blog to learn some tips on managing pain as an addict.
Acute Vs. Chronic Pain
The definition of acute pain is generally the result of an injury or illness, which subsides in a few days or weeks as the body heals from the trauma. On the other hand, chronic pain is a pain state that lasts for more than twelve weeks — after the body has healed. The National Institute of Health estimates that over 100 million people deal with chronic pain. It’s important to understand that chronic pain does not just mean that the pain will last longer than it takes the injury to heal; it’s labeled as a disease that alters function, distorts the nervous system, moves to other areas of the body, and impacts moods. It can decrease a person’s overall quality of life if not managed properly.
Studies suggest that chronic pain can be due to emotional issues or trauma, and a third to three-quarters of chronic pain sufferers also deal with depression, which has its own effects. Isolation becomes an issue with individuals struggling with chronic pain since they tend to stay home more and limit normal life activities.
Pain Challenges for Addicts
When someone is recovering from opioid addiction, what can they do for pain? This has become a challenge for physicians. Because chronic pain is a disease that affects every aspect of a person’s life, it’s essential to treat it with a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach. Physicians don’t want to prescribe a drug that can lead to relapse in drug addicts, so alternative methods are used. These treatments have fewer risks and can be just as effective as using opioids.
Alternative Pain Relief
The following medications can be used without the risk of addiction. This ensures someone suffering from chronic pain can find relief while reducing the risk of relapse. They include:
- Anticonvulsants, including Lyrica and Gralise.
- Tricyclic antidepressants like Elavil, Norpramin, and Pamelor
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, celecoxib, and meloxicam — Topical NSAIDs like diclofenac may help with chronic musculoskeletal and osteoarthritis pain when used as directed.
There are also holistic methods that include complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which can help treat a myriad of chronic pain. These help not only pain but can also improve a person’s quality of life. Combined with traditional techniques, these methods have shown to be effective. There’s also acupuncture, herbal medicine, chiropractic care, massage therapy, yoga, and mindfulness meditation.
Tips for Managing Chronic Pain in Addiction Recovery
There are tools to help individuals recovering from opioid addiction manage their pain without resorting to opioids. Some things a person can do to help manage and mitigate their chronic pain while in recovery include:
- Get good quality sleep. This is important for everyone but more so for those in recovery. Restorative sleep improves mental functioning and healing. Stick to a routine that helps promote good sleep.
- Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals. Your body needs healthy food to heal, so eat foods that are rich in nutrients, high in protein, and low in sugars and saturated fats.
- Involve yourself in something meaningful. Volunteering and being of service to someone can get you out of your head while improving someone else’s mental purpose.
- Stay fit. Engaging in physical exercise builds your body and reduces stress. Aim for at least 20 minutes three times a week or more.
- Use relaxation techniques. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness help reduce physical and mental tension that can cause muscles to tighten, restricting blood flow.
- Join a support group. Having a support team, you can turn to us very therapeutic. It can help reduce relapse and offer helpful coping strategies and tools.
- Talk to a therapist. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has proven helpful to those in addiction recovery to manage chronic pain. Processing traumas, learning tools to reduce stress, and talking through problems, are all helpful.
Need Additional Support?
If you or a loved one struggles with chronic pain while in addiction recovery and need support, contact Ardu Recovery Center. Our caring staff knows your struggles and wants to help you manage your chronic pain so that you can get back to a life without addiction.