5 Chronic Pain Issues in Drug Treatment Centers

When working with and helping addicts & alcoholics there are a variety of factors that come into consideration when deciding what approach is best for drug rehab.  One of the major factors is if a particular substance abuser is also dealing with co-occurring chronic pain it can be a complex and challenging process for clinicians, clients, and family.  It can cause frustration and prolong the suffering of the client. All complaints of pain must be taken serious and have proper evaluation. Pain can impair health, function, and quality of life. Here are some key points.

According to The American Society of Pain Management Nurses (ASPMN) position is that individuals with addictive disease and pain have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and the same quality of pain assessment and management as all other individuals. (ASPMN Position statement on pain management in patients with addictive disease)
Research in addiction medicine reveals a strong association between stress and drug craving. The stress of unrelieved pain may contribute to relapse in the recovering client or increased drug use in patient who is actively using.
Persons with substance abuse disorders are less likely than others to receive effective pain treatment
Treatment of chronic pain at a drug treatment center should use a multidimensional approach including but not limited to, Cognitive Behavior therapy, ice, heat, stretching and exercise, TENS, and nonopioid analgesic medications like acetaminophen, NSAIDs, tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants.
As a last resort the use of opioid medications, preferably long acting time release.


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