There’s nothing quite like pain when it comes to overshadowing your life and you just want to find some relief. You know that medications, in particular painkillers, get the job done, but you’re worried about the dangers of this approach to pain management — and rightfully so.
As medical experts who specialize in pain management, Drs. Boris Shwartzman and Do Chan here at Comprehensive Pain Management want to do everything in our power to help you successfully, and safely, find relief. We understand all too well the pitfalls of managing pain with medications, and we want to focus on how to avoid them.
There’s a very good reason why opioid use has been described as an epidemic and/or crisis as millions of people around the United States struggle with addiction and dependence. The role that pain medications play in this crisis isn’t small, as seen in these statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
If you consider that opioid-based painkillers are one of the more common roads to opioid misuse or a substance use disorder, you understand why it’s so very important to approach pain management medications carefully. To put an exclamation point on this statement, consider that drug overdose deaths went from about 47,000 in the 12-month period ending in January 2015 to around 97,000 in the 12 months prior to May 2021.
Our team acknowledges the frightening numbers that surround opioid use, which is why we approach medication management with great care. First, we want to underscore the fact that using opioids to manage pain is extremely effective, and it can be done safely.
To ensure that you can find relief through pain medications, without risking addiction or misuse, we follow the state guidelines issued by the Department of Health (we operate in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island).
With these guidelines as references, we fully evaluate your use and monitor your dosing and refills very carefully. As part of our medication management program, we include routine urine drug testing as well as regular behavioral assessments.
We also reevaluate your pain medications often to determine that you’re receiving what you need to manage your pain.
Rest assured, we make education a key component to our medication management, as we want you to fully appreciate the benefits and potential risks of painkillers.
We also focus on the lifestyle changes you can make to help relieve your pain. These changes, such as losing weight, exercising more, or practicing stress reduction, can make a significant difference in how you’re able to manage your pain, allowing you to rely less on medications.
So, to answer the question we pose in the title of this blog post about whether pain medications are dangerous, our answer is, “Potentially, yes.” Through our medication management programs, however, we can greatly lessen this danger and help you find relief from your pain.
If you have more questions about using medications to manage your pain, please contact one of our offices — in Attleboro or Franklin, Massachusetts, or South Kingstown or Warwick, Rhode Island — to set up a consultation.