Pain is the way your brain communicates with your body to let you know something is out of balance or seriously injured. Opioid pain medications are often prescribed to treat various levels of pain, due to injury, arthritis or post surgical procedures. The use of opioids or over the counter medications are meant to temporarily reduce your pain levels so you can take care of the origin of your pain. Although pain management is an important part of healing and recovery, taking these pain medications can be a double edged sword.
Side effects of opioid pain medication can range from mild, moderate to severe. The following are some of the most common side effects: Itching, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation, sleepiness, slow breathing, confusion, depression, increased sensitivity to pain, physical addiction and even death. Individuals who are over sixty five and have other health issues are even more likely to experience these side effects.
Here is a list of common opioids:
- codeine (only available in generic form)
- fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
- hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
- hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
- hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
- meperidine (Demerol)
- methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
- morphine (Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, Ora-Morph SR)
- oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxecta, Roxicodone)
- oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet)
- oxycodone and naloxone (Targiniq ER)
So, how do you approach a situation where you are prescribed opioids? It’s best to refrain from opioid use altogether if you can, however, it’s important that you discuss this with your doctor and take the lowest dose, for the shortest amount of time possible. It is also important to refrain from using over the counter medications, such as NSAIDs, while taking opioids. Your number one priority should be to deal with the underlying cause of your pain.
Alternative health approaches such as chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, yoga, and meditation are all effective ways to manage the actual cause of your pain. If you are one of those individuals that are using opioids, over the counter medication, or just have persistent pain, give Etlinger Chiropractic a call so we can form a personalized health plan to help you work towards becoming pain-free.
Yours In Health
Dr. Michael T. Etlinger