If you are on pain medication due to neck or back pain, I would like to tell you a story about one of my patients. My patient’s experience with pain and pain medication has been a rough road. I hope that this story will give someone out there an idea of what you should look for when dealing with this issue. Mike (name is changed to protect patient privacy) had suffered with back pain for over ten years. He had been on more pain medications than I had ever seen in a patient’s medical history. Some helped and some did not. Some are more likely to cause addiction than others. But I would like to tell you of this patient’s experience and hope that you come away more informed than before you read this.
For over a decade Mike had struggled with back pain, and he was continually trying to find a pain medication that worked long-term for him. He had been to doctors and specialists, many times. In the end, it was always the same. They would prescribe pain medications to take. Some provided great relief for him, at first. The pain medications did knock him out, so he did get sleep and, at first, his pain was manageable. Sometimes he could not think when he took the pain meds during the day, and sometimes, he would not need the medicine. and he only took it as he needed it. After a few years of this, his body become used to many pain medications. So the doctor stepped up the dosage, several times.
At some point during all of this, my patient became addicted to the pain medication, and he suffered through two types of addictions. I want to tell you about both of them. The first addiction started when he would hurt more than usual, so he would take just one extra pill to help with the pain. That one extra pill made him feel wonderful. The pain was gone, and he had more energy than he usually did. He was really happy, happier than usual. Then over time, he started taking two pills more, instead of one, because he wasn’t getting the same feeling as before. His family stopped coming around as much, as they didn’t want to be anywhere near him when he was taking this much pain medicine. My patient then realized that he had a big problem. Although, he never really went through withdrawals with this level of addiction when he didn’t take the pain medicine for a day or two.
According to my patient, the second addiction showed up when his doctor took him off of pain pills and put him on a pain patch to control the back pain. He had started this medication just over a year ago. He finally agreed to try it and soon realized that it helped tremendously with lowering his pain. He wore the pain patch every day and changed the patch every three days. The pain was just about gone. He loved the idea of not having to worry about taking too much of the medication, because it was time-released. He felt more comfortable with the patch as he had not been very responsible about taking the pain pills correctly. After being on the pain patch for a few months, he ran out before he was able to pick up his medication. It was a weekend, and he just assumed it would be fine to wait, just like all the times before with the pain pills. He did not realize that you can be addicted without knowing it.
Now, if you have never suffered through addiction or withdrawal, I can tell you that it does not sound pleasant, in the least. According to Mike,he was cold and hot at the same time. He was sweating and shivering. His whole body hurt. He was nauseated, and he had a terrible headache. It was probably the worst thing he had ever experienced, and nothing helped. Mike ended up going to the emergency room, and his wife had to take off of work to take him to the hospital. He was in such bad shape he could not drive himself. The doctors gave Mike some medicine, and he was okay, but it was a scary and painful ordeal. He did not want to take pain medication anymore, but he still had the back pain.
I don’t want to scare you; I just want you to understand what an addiction was like for this person. You may not even realize that it is happening until you’re already addicted. My patient had never been through an ordeal like that – not before and not since – thankfully. Sadly, it usually comes across that if you become addicted, it is because you have done something that is wrong. That is not always the case. My patient certainly wished he had known this possibility when he started taking all this medication. If you suffer from neck or back pain, have you often wondered is it worth it? Back pain can be severe pain without pain medication, but do you really want to take that chance. There are other ways to treat the causes of back and neck pain without taking pain medications for years. Check out all of your options, as there are alternatives to choose. You can find alternative treatment that is nonsurgical, and you won’t need addictive pain pills.
Choose to stay away from long-term use of pain pills, as you always have to be careful when taking them. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have about your medication and addiction. Some people have a hard time dealing with their neck or back pain, but there are successful options that do not include taking medication. Just always remember that most of these pain medications are addictive. You always have to be careful when dealing with them. I hope I have helped with many concerns you may have had about pain medication addiction.