Skip to main content

A burn, a cut, or fractured bone… everybody is familiar with pain. This type of acute pain appears out of nowhere and typically goes away within days or weeks. However, chronic pain can manifest in any part of the body. It affects all elements of a person’s life, including movement, sleep, eating, energy level, relationships, and relationships, and can last for months or years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. This equates to more than 20% of the population. Many individuals are now questioning whether chronic pain is a disability. In this article, we’ll learn more about it and see if it has anything to do with addiction.

What is Chronic Pain? 

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for at least 12 weeks and usually occurs due to an accident or procedure. Chronic pain and addiction may coexist. Chronic pain can reduce mobility, eating changes, stress sensitivity, mood swings, and other psychological issues. 

Chronic pain can manifest itself in any part of the body. An injury in one part of the body might lead to complications in other parts of the body. Someone suffering from post-trauma pain (pain caused by a car accident, medical operation, or other physical trauma to the body), for example, may also experience:

  • Headaches
  • Backache
  • Tingling
  • Nerve discomfort (fibromyalgia)
  • Joint discomfort
  • Arthritis/Insomnia
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Having trouble breathing

Is Chronic Pain a Disability?

Chronic pain can be challenging to manage and lead you to believe that you have a disability. However, no matter how severe and disabling the ailment is, it will not qualify unless you can demonstrate that it is caused by a verified condition that has existed for at least 12 months.

Treatment and Medications for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain and addiction are typically addressed with therapy and drugs. Patients may be prescribed medications and encouraged to make healthy lifestyle adjustments to enhance posture, stress levels, and energy levels. Patients who require assistance with walking or accomplishing daily duties benefit from physical therapy. Chronic pain management may necessitate the use of multiple drugs at once; some of these medications may interfere with lifestyle adjustments.

The following are some of the most regularly prescribed medications for chronic pain relief:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Opioids
  • Steroids (Prednisone)
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsant and anti-seizure medications

Antidepressants are beneficial in treating depression-related symptoms. If Advil isn’t effective enough to relieve persistent pain, A doctor may recommend anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants. Muscle relaxants have a high risk of becoming addictive. You should not stop antidepressants suddenly without seeking medical guidance.

Chronic Pain and Addiction

Chronic pain is the primary cause of dependence on opioids, anxiety, and depression, in addition to limitations in mobility, poor perception of health, and reduced quality of life. Addiction is unfortunately linked to both drug addiction and mental health issues.

Percocet, OxyContin, and Vicodin are opioids that affect pain perception in the brain. Dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter, is flooded into the brain. Unfortunately, patients develop a tolerance to the medication over time, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect. This can progress to full-fledged addiction over time.

While many people can safely use opioids with the help of their doctors, others are at risk. Scientists can’t say why one person with chronic pain develops an addiction while another person does not due to addiction’s complexity and multi-factor nature. They’ve discovered several risk factors for painkiller addiction, ranging from genetics to prior substance abuse.

Opioids, like heroin and morphine, belong to the same drug class. Some people with chronic pain progress to heroin use because heroin is less expensive and easier to obtain than prescription drugs. Eighty percent of heroin users began by misusing prescription opioids. On the plus side, only 4% of people who abuse prescription painkillers progress to heroin use. According to the National Institutes of Health, “this suggests that misuse of prescription opioids is just one factor leading to heroin use.”

Medication Treatments for Chronic Pain with No Risk of Addiction

Many people can take prescription opioids without developing an addiction, which is valid for many people. Other people, particularly those with genetic predispositions or a history of substance misuse, are more likely to develop the condition. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell who’s who before the addiction has taken hold of them.

In terms of chronic pain therapies that do not increase the risk of addiction, there are numerous options to consider, including:

  • Antidepressants for emotional pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Complementary treatments, such as acupuncture, meditation, and certain supplements
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical management, such as chiropractic work and massage

Addiction to Prescription Medications

Numerous alternative treatments for chronic pain do not involve opioid medications. Natural treatments for chronic pain such as: 

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • Herbal Supplements

Interventional pain management, such as: 

  • Facet Rhizotomy
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation
  • Intrathecal Pumps (Pain Pumps) 
  • Physical Therapy
  • Yoga
  • Prayer

Medications may also be prescribed by doctors in addition to these treatments, with the lowest possible dose being the first. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants, and muscle relaxants are examples of medications that they may prescribe.

A doctor may request a voluntary opioid agreement of patients who have been prescribed opioids to lessen their risk of becoming addicted to the drugs. The expectations and duties of patients and providers are clearly defined in this document, including drug testing, using a designated pharmacy, and using a third party to dispense the medications.

Faith-Based Addiction Treatment in Southern California

Unfortunately, addiction can develop when opioids are used to manage chronic pain despite the best practices and efforts made to prevent it. Choosing a substance abuse treatment facility that has experience in this area will assist in navigating the road to recovery, relapse prevention, and a return to a life free of substance abuse addiction. To discover more about our admissions here, please contact Covenant Hills Treatment immediately by calling us at 844-268-8412.