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Non-Opioid Treatment for Chronic Pain

Opioids, used to treat pain, are not the only answer. In fact, they do not address the physiologic mechanisms of pain…so, they have not been shown to improve function. They have not been studied in longer-term trials and studies suggest patients may have a worse quality of life and higher pain levels. Opioids can cause a state of hyperalgesia, a condition where a person develops an increased sensitivity to pain.

Here we’ve compiled some information on the short and long-term effects, as well as, the side effects of opioid use. Furthermore, we also included an article that champions the patients plight to find a better solution.

Short-Term Effects of Opioids

The biggest advantage to opioids is that they’re very effective in treating acute pain, for example post-surgical pain, and they’re relatively cheap.

The short-term effects of opioid use can include:

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Pain relief
  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation

The long-term effects of opioid can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal distention and bloating
  • Liver damage (especially prevalent in abuse of drugs that combine opiates with acetaminophen)
  • Brain damage due to hypoxia, resulting from respiratory depression
  • Development of tolerance

The side effects of opioid can include:

  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Paranoia
  • Respiratory depression
  • Nausea

Because of the intense “high” produced by the interaction of several opioids and the brain, the drugs remain extremely addictive, sometimes causing measurable symptoms of addiction in under three days.

The best-known side effect of opioids is dependence, and it’s surprisingly easy to become addicted without realizing it.

Even codeine, a commonly prescribed painkiller, is addictive. Opiate dependence tends to be diagnosed when you cannot get off the drug despite the negative consequences of being on the drug.

Jax Spine & Pain Centers Dr. Michael Hanes says that increasingly raising awareness about the availability of non-opioid treatments is crucial and finding a doctor willing to go the distance in your treatment plan is everything. Educate yourself. Dr. Hanes shared this article finding it insightful for those on the search for an alternative, When Seconds Count.


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