In 2018, Dr. Nikesh Seth was voted “Top Doc,” and many of these votes came from chronic pain sufferers who finally found relief. Chronic pain is usually defined as a pain that has been constant for at least six months. Patients may push through the pain for years before seeking medical help. It can be several more years before they try alternative pain management techniques.
Unfortunately, our society encourages the use of painkillers, and that nickname alone comes with a host of problems. Pain is the body’s way of saying something’s wrong. In some cases, the pain signals might get wonky, and in those cases, stopping the pain is the goal. In other cases, measures should be taken to determine the cause of the pain and fix that cause. However, when patients are constantly prescribed painkillers, they’re given the impression that all pain should immediately be stopped with often dangerous drugs.
America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Opioids and opiates can and should be prescribed in some cases, such as in the recovery of a major surgery. Opioids were never meant to be prescribed for long-term pain, and certainly not for chronic pain. They are highly addictive with the same framework as heroin—but much more potent.
The combined idea that we should never experience pain and the push of dangerous medication on all patients suffering from pain has led to a perfect storm. Fortunately, there are a number of safe and effective options. This can include radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy, kyphoplasty, and even well-measured and prescribed opioid drugs when monitored closely by a doctor for short-term pain management.
It’s also essential to re-assess what painkillers should do. In the vast majority of cases, they should not stop pain entirely. That stops the brain from being able to send important signals. Instead, the focus should be on pain management. Making pain manageable as the body heals is the goal. For more information on alternatives to pain management, call Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552 to schedule a detailed evaluation today.