Back Pain and Addiction to Pain Relieving Medication
Back pain is a problem that impacts many men and women each day. In many cases, back pain is a short-term discomfort that comes from pulled or strained muscles. Unfortunately, it can become a serious and chronic problem if the nerves are damaged. When back pain becomes severe, doctors will prescribe pain medication to help relieve the discomfort. While the discomfort will recede, many prescription pain relievers are addictive and can have serious consequences for some patients.
The primary prescription pain relievers doctors prescribe for moderate to severe pain are opioid drugs. While opiates reduce the sensation of pain, they are also highly addictive substances. Stopping the medication suddenly will result in withdrawal symptoms, even when the drugs are taken as directed by a medical doctor.
Many drugs on the market are developed from the opium poppy plant. Oxycontin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and vicodin are common medications prescribed for moderate to severe back pain. Depending on the situation, the dosage suggestions for the drugs will vary.
The problem with prescription pain medications that are created from the opium poppy plant is the addictive qualities. Opioid compounds in the drugs bind to receptors in the brain and create feelings of sedation and euphoria. The relief from pain also contributes to the temptation to take more than doctors recommend. Over time, it is possible to develop an addiction to the prescription pain relievers.
Signs of Addiction
Due to the highly addictive quality of many prescription medications, it is important to recognize the signs of a developing addiction. Even taking the medication as directed by a doctor can result in an addiction if proper steps are not taken to gradually reduce the dosage.
Common signs of addiction to pain relievers include:
- Taking more of the drug to get the same relief from back pain
- Discomfort when the medication is not taken
- Mood swings
- Behavioral changes
- Changing social relationships
- Reduced personal hygiene habits
- Neglected responsibilities
- Disinterest in favorite sports, hobbies or activities
- Changes to weight
- Determination to obtain more of the drug
While doctors attempt to reduce the risks of developing an addiction, back pain can lead to the use of opioid drugs. When the drugs are used inappropriately or the dosage is not gradually reduced over time, it is possible to develop an addiction.
Recognizing Personal Addiction
The signs and symptoms of addiction are easily overlooked, particularly when it relates to personal habits. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step of getting help from appropriate professionals.
While mood swings and changing habits are a common sign of the problem, it is easily overlooked on a personal level. Excuses for the changing interest in hobbies or mood are easily developed, particularly when facing back pain. Paying attention to the comments of loved ones can help catch abnormal changes to mood.
Despite the fact that mood swings are a common sign of the problem, the first symptom that many individuals will notice on a personal level is the withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the prescription, the length of time between doses before withdrawal symptoms develop will vary.
Common symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Pain throughout the body, particularly in the muscles and bones
- Inability to sleep at night
Since withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, it is easy to recognize the physical dependence on the drug. It is not easy to overlook the symptoms, but it will give a clear indication that addiction has developed.
Overcoming Addiction to Pain Relievers
Developing back pain might result in an addiction if the pain relievers are not carefully handled. When an addiction develops, it is possible to overcome the problem by seeking professional help.
Overcoming substance abuse will start with eliminating the physical dependence on the substance. A medically supervised detoxification program is suggested for addiction to opioid medications due to the withdrawal symptoms. Doctors are able to reduce the discomfort, which will make it easier to get through the first step of beating the problem.
Counseling and holistic pain relief solutions are the next step of beating the psychological dependence on the drug. Since the cause of the addiction relates to back pain, massage therapy, yoga stretching and similar holistic pain relief solutions are available to help with the discomfort. The counseling focuses on reducing the psychological dependence on the drug and provides aftercare services to help avoid the drug in the future.
Developing moderate to severe back pain can lead to addiction. The prescription pain relievers are difficult to overcome, but with professional help it is possible to work out a solution. Recognizing the problem and seeking help will result in beating the addiction and finding alternative pain relief solutions.