Pain is the body’s normal reaction to an illness or injury. As soon as the body heals, you’ll typically stop feeling symptoms. However, if those symptoms last for periods of three to six months or longer, then you’re experiencing chronic pain. It isn’t uncommon for those with chronic pain to also experience issues with their emotional and physical well-being, too. Chronic pain can make living your life normally extremely difficult, both physically and mentally. And we want to help.
About Opioid Prescription Treatments
When you’re in the hospital for any significant amount of time and need pain management, it isn’t uncommon for physicians or surgeons to prescribe opioid pain medications. However, when you’re going for follow-up visits, your provider will put a plan together to help you manage your pain.
According to a study published in the Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain in 2006, “it is remarkable that opioid treatment of long-term/chronic non-cancer pain does not seem to fulfill any of the key outcomes of opioid treatment goals: pain relief, improved quality of life and improved functional capacity.” These results still haven’t changed very significantly over the years.
New Laws for Opioid Pain Management
You’ll find that the laws regarding long-term use of prescription opioids will vary from state to state. However, under most circumstances, these laws will limit the length of usage time to seven days per prescription. Some states, including Florida, Kentucky, and Minnesota, even limit prescription lengths to three days, unless the doctor provides documentation stating it needs to be a seven-day prescription.
These laws were put into effect following the publication of the CDC’s 2018 Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes. The CDC was able to develop and publish their CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain as a result of this report’s findings. The purpose of this guide is to help healthcare providers who prescribe opioid medications to patients with chronic pain. These guidelines are for those who are not end-of-life, cancer, or palliative care patients.
What If You Fall Outside of the CDC’s Guidelines?
If you are not palliative care, cancer, or end-of-life patient and need long-term chronic pain relief, what are your options? Is long-term opioid use an appropriate treatment? What are the risks?
When chronic pain sufferers use opioid prescriptions to treat their chronic pain, they’re opening themselves up to a broad range of risks. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) compared the efficacy and dangers of opioid use for treating chronic pain in 2013. During this review, researchers addressed dosing strategies, opioid risks and benefits, and strategies for risk mitigation and assessment. Their review found no sufficient evidence of opioids being a beneficial treatment plan for long-term chronic pain.
What Does This Mean for You?
There are so many risks associated with long-term use of opioid prescriptions for chronic pain, but the good news is that patients have other options. What this means for you is that you can safely receive treatment for your chronic pain in a way that not only is effective but also is free from the risks and dangers associated with opioid use.
Interventional Pain Management is a mode of treating the root cause of the pain rather than medicating the symptoms. Wikipedia defines Interventional Pain Management as:
Interventional pain management or interventional pain medicine is a medical subspecialty which treats pain with invasive interventions such as facet joint injections, nerve blocks (interrupting the flow of pain signals along specific nervous system pathways), neuroaugmentation (including spinal cord stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation), vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty, nucleoplasty, endoscopic discectomy, and implantable drug delivery systems.
Ketamine as an Option
According to Harvard Health Publishing, “More than 42,000 people died from opioids in 2016, five times more than in 1999.” That’s a startling statistic when considering which long-term option is best for treating chronic pain. Physicians and surgeons are using ketamine to manage chronic pain in inpatient and outpatient care cases. It’s also possible to continue receiving treatments for chronic pain at ketamine clinics.
Because ketamine has received such a positive response for its depression treatment, it received FDA approval for a nasal spray treatment on March 5, 2019. While ketamine treatments for chronic pain are completed intravenously, the FDA approval of the nasal spray shows promise for those receiving chronic pain management.
Where Can Patients Turn?
Those who receive ketamine infusions tend not to experience very many side-effects, which is impressive in comparison to prescription medications. Because there are few risks associated with ketamine infusions, patients can leave the clinic and continue with their day as usual. The only recommendation the clinic may make is to not eat or drink anything for one or two hours before treatment but to still take medications as you normally would.
When patients need relief from their chronic pain, MidSouth Pain is here for them. At MidSouth Pain, patients experience long-term relief without having to worry about the risks or dangers associated with opioid prescription use. Instead, they’ll experience an alternative treatment with easy, long-lasting results.