An opioid is usually prescribed by Pain Management Doctors to help ease physical chronic pain. Pain medicines serve a real purpose. This site fully respects those people who are in chronic pain and required to take opioid pain medications to survive and function. This BLOG is not directed at this group of suffering people. I started out with chronic pain when I sustained a terrible injury to my shoulder and neck. It healed wrong and I ended up having to have numerous surgeries to repair. When the repairs did not reduce my pain, I had even more surgeries. All while being prescribed heavy opioid pain medications. Looking back, these medications did allow me to function and gave me relief. It is debatable if I should have ever been prescribed pain medications with a solid genetic family history of addiction.
The chronic pain that I endured before, during and after my surgeries was ‘off-the charts’. I would lay in bed day after day in agony. I remember often just dropping to my knees and laying on the floor wherever I was at the time because the nerve pain running up my shoulder in my neck and head was crippling me. The pain medications provided me relief. I was able to function to some degree and maintain a career. However, based on how opioid receptors work, I built a high tolerance. This meant that I needed more opiates to feel the same amount of pain relief. My body got use to the drug and therefore I was back in pain. To resolve this, my pain doctors would dose up my prescriptions and before long I was on 300-400 mcg of Fentanyl. This drug is 50 times stronger than heroin. It has been in the news a lot lately because it has hit the streets. The Cartels have ‘wised-up’ and began producing a form of Fentanyl and lacing it into heroin. This increases potency and addiction. It is a shame that this drug is being used for this purpose. Fentanyl has provided relief for countless cancer patients and chronic pain sufferers.
I am not quite sure where everything went wrong for me. Every situation and person is different. At some point, I crossed over from dependency on opiate pain medications into straight-up, full blown addiction. I never even knew what hit me. It landed on my lap without notice. I was shocked at how powerful my addiction had become. These chemicals take control over every aspect of your life. Destruction is not far behind or even death. If the physical chronic pain didn’t kill me, then the opiate drug addiction surely would. I felt doomed for many years. I didn’t see many options. I prayed and tried to keep the faith, but when someone is that discouraged…it creates a wall of distraction.
There are many chronic pain sufferers who regularly take strong opioid pain medications and never become addicted to them. This is great for them! Apparently, about 30% of pain pill ‘poppers’ who were legally prescribed pain medications and do suffer from pain problems,….get addicted. Unfortunately, I was one of them. I do not know exactly why I had to be put into this category. I certainly did NOT ask for it and I would do anything I could to turn-back time and prevent this from happening. But, what would that have taken? What would I have done differently?
Well, for starters, I would have given closer consideration to my family genetic history. I had an uncle that was a heroin addict for many years and a grandfather who was an alcoholic. I also had a cousin who became a heroin addict (same bloodline) after she too, experienced a painful injury. She started on prescription pain meds and moved on to heroin eventually. Needless to say, genetics do play a strong role.
Other than the genetic component, I wish I would have been warned more seriously about the dangers of addiction. It is a difficult position to be in. You are sever physical pain, you want relief so that you can function, you go to a pain doctor and the best remedy from their perspective is opioid pain medication because it works. You trust them, and begin taking the opioid drugs. What do you do if you are an addict, but in severe physical pain? We found that there are pain doctors who will work with your addiction specialist to provide you different alternatives or methods. For example, you might still take opioid mediciations, but perhaps they are prescribed in a more controlled setting. Or, they never prescribe too much at one time to where it could be abused more quickly.
Aside from opioid pain medications, there are many other options to cope with physical pain. There are natural remedies that may or may not work. There is Yoga and medication and prayer. There is also acupuncture and massage treatments. Equipment such as TENS and other electro-stimulous machines that can reduce pain. We recommend people research and try out all of these other alternatives before they result to opioid pain medications. However, if nothing else works…you have a right to reduce your suffering by using pain medications. Just be careful.