4 Things to ask your Doctor about your pain

Just as a reminder, pain is a symptom, not a disease process. It is your body’s signal that something is wrong. So if you’re having pain, just getting rid of the pain is the first step, not the ONLY step.”

I wanted to talk to you today about a trend that is happening nationwide: the search for the quick fix pill.

Here’s the scenario . A guy mid 40’s has some back pain. Between his job, wife and 3 kids, he feels that he has no time to exercise  far less be slowed down by this pain. So he goes to his Doctor, and gets a prescription for pain medication.

It’s quick and easy, so he thinks that he’ll be back to his old life in no time.

Until 4-5 months later, the pain comes back, and this time the pain medication doesn’t do the trick.

So he goes back to the Doctor- who gives him another, stronger prescription.

2 months later – He’s back to square one, but this time the pain is way worse. At this point he begs his Doctor to give him anything to make the pain go away. Which the Doctor does. But by this time he cannot function without the medication.

Here’s the worst part of this scenario: It’s actually real life and happens all the time.

In February,  there was a jump from 25 to 52 drug overdose calls in the same 32 hour time span reported in Louisville, Kentucky. Alarming numbers.

The conversation about drug use and abuse is multi-faceted, but highlights the American culture of getting a one size fits all , quick fix pill to our medical problems. And anyone going shopping for any clothing item can safely say that the concept of a ‘one size fits all’ pill is clearly ridiculous.

It makes you think about how we solve our health care problems. And really highlights some of the issues that we are seeing with the opioid epidemic we are currently in.

Here are some statistics for you

  • – Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled, yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report
  • – 78 persons will die a day from an opioid -related overdose.
  • Study results Freund et al, 2015: 4 month treatment with opioids has a modest improvement in back pain , but minimal effect on function compared with placebo

At this point, regardless of your politics, you can see how that quick fix pill is not the best bet for you – research and time has proven that.

Even the CDC has weighed in on the “high quality evidence “ that supports the use of exercise with physical therapy to address acute and chronic low back pain symptoms.

Are you a quick fix – one pill taker?

Or do you take the time to find out the cause of the problem and address that?

Just as a reminder, pain is a symptom, not a disease process. It is your body’s signal that something is wrong. So if you’re having pain, just getting rid of the pain is the first step, not the ONLY step.

That’s how people end up in the cycle of taking stronger drugs and end up in addictive cycles in an effort to take care of their pain.  Stronger medications like oxycodone  are meant for acute medical interventions, not for long term use. So when used for a long time, tolerance can build and can prompt someone to quickly move to illicit drugs like heroin and even the fatal fentanyl in an effort to curb pain problems

So what can we do? When you go to your doctor, knowing your options are very important.  See  5 tips to ace your Doctor’s Visit

When your doctor prescribes a pill, make sure to ask

  1. Do I need this medication?
  2. What are the uses and the side effects of this pill?
  3. How long will I have to use it?

4. What are my alternative options?

It’s important that you play an active role in your health care, so that you can get the information to make the best decision for your health.

I can help you with an alternative option; if you are having pain and not interested in getting into taking constant medications, let’s talk.

 

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