Pain Patients Do Best When Given Choices About Treatment
Pain Patients Do Best When Given Choices About TreatmentApril 1st, 2018 by Cindy Perlin
Due to changing government policies in response to the opioid abuse epidemic, many pain patients who have depended on prescription opioids to manage their pain are finding that their doctors are no longer willing to prescribe the high dosages of opioids they’ve been taking. In some cases, doctors are unwilling to prescribe any opioids at all. Patients are being forced into abrupt opioid withdrawal. Usually they are being offered no pain treatment at all or treatment with other pharmaceuticals that aren’t effective and have dangers of their own.
These patients experiencing involuntary opioid withdrawal are reporting that they are doing very poorly. Opioid withdrawal can include severe muscle and abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, restlessness, sweating, anxiety, fast heart rate, insomnia, sweating and tremors. Withdrawal is so horrendous that it drives some patients to do anything to get their next dose to avoid it. Some pain patients are turning to street drugs to stop the withdrawal and to deal with their untreated pain. Others are quietly suffering with increased pain, lower quality of life and poorer functioning. Some are committing suicide. It is rare that this group of patients who are forced off their opioids gets any medical guidance or financial help to find other workable alternatives to manage their pain. While there are many nonpharmaceutical alternatives that could reduce or eliminate their suffering, insurance companies refuse to cover them.
There’s another group of formerly opioid dependent pain patients who are doing well. They have had the financial means and medical guidance to search out alternative pain treatments that work for them. Most have also had full legal access to all of the treatments that can help ease chronic pain.
Some of these fortunate patients have turned to medical marijuana, CBD oil or kratom (a Southeast Asian herb), all of which not only reduce pain but also ease the symptoms of withdrawal. Other patients are turning to mind/body techniques like relaxation training, biofeedback, neurofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy or to nutritional interventions that reduce inflammation, normalize pain signaling and speed healing. Many are finding that hands on therapies like massage, physical therapy, chiropractic or acupuncture hold the key to pain relief. Still others are finding innovative technologies including low level laser therapy or pulsed electromagnetic frequencies (PEMF) reduce pain. Many find a combination of therapies is needed to feel better. As they incorporate these alternative therapies, these patients slowly taper off of their opioids and other medications and find that they attain better pain relief and better function than they had with the drugs. Read some of their stories HERE.
Every pain patient should have these choices and options—full legal access to the full range of pain treatments, with unrestricted and affordable insurance coverage. It is criminal that they don’t. People are suffering and dying. Help me change this by signing my petitions to require insurance companies to pay for alternative pain treatments and to legalize medical marijuana nationwide. You can access my petitions HERE.
To learn more about alternative pain treatments options, go to the Alternative Pain Treatment Directory or read The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free.