Painkiller addiction happens when you’ve become too dependent on your prescription meds to manage pain. Chronic pain is a real problem and it can affect how you function every day. If you’re taking prescription opioids for your pain, you should know that you can easily become dependent on it and may even develop an addiction to it. But painkiller addiction can be prevented if you know how to better manage the pain you’re experiencing.
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Understanding Painkiller Addiction
There have been studies that state that about one in every four people who use opioid painkillers are going to develop a form of addiction to it. When there is poor pain management, one can easily abuse painkillers. Taking more painkillers will not cure the pain. What happens is that the medications trick your brain in such a way that it makes you believe you’re feeling alright. In the long run, the meds will affect brain chemistry and you become dependent on it.
Apart from that, the body will also build a tolerance to the painkillers as well. When this happens, you’ll notice that you’re not getting the same effect from your usual dose. You may think that increasing the dose is the right way to go about it. But what really happens is that you’re helping your body become more dependent on the drugs.
The proper treatment for chronic pain includes adequate and effective pain management. Painkillers can truly help in allowing you to function in spite of the pain. However, it will not be able to address the root cause. Relying solely on the medications will also not help you in exploring other options you have for pain management.
How to Better Manage Chronic Pain
To help prevent painkiller addiction from developing, here are some of the best ways to manage chronic pain. You can try each of these and see which ones work best for you. These techniques don’t involve taking other medications. Instead, they are strategies that you can apply in your everyday life to manage chronic pain.
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Meditation to Relax
Meditation is one of the most effective ways to help you relax. When you’re more relaxed, the body can better handle the pain. Sometimes, your muscles are tense and tight, that’s why the pain you’re feeling is worse. If you can train yourself to relax, then your mind and body will be able to be at ease as well.
Are you experiencing anxiety, depression, anger, or stress? If you are, it’s adding up to the pain that you’re feeling. Your body is more sensitive to pain when you are stressed. It’s time to declutter your life and remove the stressors. You may start with the physical objects in your home or office. Yes, it’s like doing a cleanup but it’s also a psychological process that will help you. Next, you can then do an emotional decluttering and avoid spending time with people that stress you out. If you can’t avoid them, you can try the next technique.
Exercise to Boost a Natural High
Sometimes, we can’t avoid stressful people especially if we work with them or live with them. The next best thing is to release the stress that you’re feeling. You can do that by working out. You’ll find that when you work out regularly, the chronic pain is more manageable. It’s because exercising strengthens your bones and muscles. It also makes you happier because of the brain chemicals that give you a natural high. If you’re annoyed or irritated by a coworker, you can put on boxing gloves and start throwing some punches on the punching bag. You’ll feel much better and be healthier physically and emotionally.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol and Smoking Cigarettes
When you’re a regular drinker, alcohol can mess up with your sleep pattern. Your chronic pain is already making it difficult for you to sleep. Maybe you think that alcohol can help you sleep better. However, it will do the exact opposite. Alcohol won’t do your body any good, especially if you have a pain problem. Smoking will also make blood circulation in your body worse. If you smoke, it can actually worsen your pain. If you’re smoking to destress, find other ways that are much healthier and more effective.
Enjoy a Good Massage
A good massage is another technique to reduce your stress and ease your pain. It’s great for people who have pain problems on their back and neck. The massage can relieve tension in those areas. Also, a massage is relaxing, especially if there are scented candles and essential oils around. You’ll feel really good. It’s a feast to the senses. You can do this after working out. It’s like rewarding your body for a good workout. Your sleep will surely be amazing!
Managing chronic pain is not simply addressing the pain itself. It is more of improving your overall lifestyle, and this includes your diet. Having a healthy diet can aid your digestive process and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. With regular exercise, you can also keep your weight under control and improve your body’s blood sugar levels. To ensure you’re eating healthy, go for low-sodium and low-fat meals. Eat fruits and veggies, whole-grain slices of bread, milk, yogurt, and choose lean meats as well.
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Painkiller addiction is a condition that can be developed by people who are not able to manage chronic pain in healthy ways. Try your best not to be dependent on painkillers alone to ease the pain that you’re feeling. There are so many techniques apart from what we’ve shared here that can help you manage chronic pain better.
If you think you’ve become dependent on painkillers, talk to your doctor about it so that he or she can help you in cutting back on the dosage of the drug. At the same time, introduce healthier habits to your system so that you won’t be focused too much on the pain. Keep yourself busy so that you won’t have to keep on thinking about the pain and taking opioid meds to relieve it.
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