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Part 1: What are the BENEFITS of Non Drug Pain Managment Ideas?

I have decided to devote a few posts to my thoughts about why non-drug pain management ideas are important.  Up until the present, I have focused on over 60 different ideas ( see recap #1 and recap #2 for a quick overview) . Not every intervention is appropriate for every situation-for example, inversion tables are primarily used for people with back problems, but would probably not be of much use for someone with fibromyalgia.

In any event, for this first post I would like to point out that medications have a role in the treatment of chronic pain, but there ARE limitations.  Some thoughts:

 Dosage ranges need to be observed to reduce the risk of side effects/toxicity/drug interactions.  The more medications a person takes, and the higher the dosages they take, the more likely they are to encounter problems at some point. Of particular danger is the use of opioid medications because of the risks associated with the nature of the drug: addiction, dependency, and tolerance.  Opioid overdoses been the cause of many deaths; in some cases the victim isn't someone who abused these drugs, but an actual patient who was using these drugs for a painful condition.

Other drugs, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and various other pain medications have their own particular issues.  The NSAID drugs ( i.e. ibuprofen) can cause bleed risk and kidney damage; acetaminophen is toxic to the human liver; and the various prescription antidepressants and neurological medications used for chronic pain each has its own set of potential issues.  It is important to take medications as directed and to check with your doctor and/or  pharmacist about potential drug interactions with other medications, supplements and so on.  It is also a good idea to have some knowledge of the possible side effects of medications that you take. The bottom line:  Medication usage should not be taken lightly.  Err on the side of caution!

 In these last several years drug shortages have not been uncommon.  Some of the drugs I am talking about having nothing to do with pain management, while other products are critical to pain management.  As an example, I read a story today from WINK TV(of note--if you read this story, the problem mentioned is in Florida...but I don't live in Florida and the same problem exists here!) about a patient in Florida who was having difficulty getting pain medications for a spinal injury he suffered some years back. In light of the fact that one of these shortages could affect your medication regimen, it is good to have a lot of other pain management strategies on board. A multi-modal approach to pain management is the best way to enhance the efficacy of medication treatment anyway, so there is nothing to lose by trying some of these ideas.


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