No one likes pain, especially recurring or chronic pain that just will not go away. Our first reflex when we feel pain is to do whatever it takes to make the pain go away. This impulse to stop the pain is much stronger than our desire to understand the cause of the pain. We think first about eliminating the pain and then find out what may have caused it.
Unfortunately, this logic is not always conducive when we are looking for a long-term solution to pain. Sometimes, in our rush to reduce or eliminate pain, we merely mask the telling signs that can lead us to the root of the problem. This is exactly the case with those who turn immediately to narcotics to treat the pain of OsteoArthritis (OA).
It is true that OA can cause immense pain and discomfort. Many of those with OA report that they feel stiffness and the most intense pain in the morning when they first wake up or after they have been sitting for long periods of time. In those moments, the pain can become so intense that it feels like the best thing to do is take some medication and let it get to work.
In some cases, treating OsteoArthritis with pain medication may be something a doctor considers in order to help a patient feel relief of pain. However, there are other treatments that may be more effective and longer lasting than taking medication. Additionally, taking pain meds may actually cause the situation to escalate without the patient being aware.
Most doctors and specialists would agree that there are better treatments to try first when it comes to OsteoArthritis before going straight to narcotics. These treatments might include a low-impact exercise routine to strengthen muscles surrounding the joints affected by OA. The type and amount of exercise suggested will be determined based on a patient’s ability and health history.
There are other therapies, such as the all-natural hyaluronic acid injections offered at Arrowhead Health Centers that treat OsteoArthritis by acting as a lubricant and shock absorber in the joint. This can help to relieve pain caused by OA without having to use pain medications. We also have our patients work with an onsite licensed physical therapist on strength training to help build the muscles around the joints.
In some cases, a doctor may decide with their patient that the only effective treatment for the pain caused by OA is the use of narcotics. We typically regard this as a last resort. It is very easy to become dependent on highly addictive pain medications. We would rather have you try something that will address the actual issue rather than just mask the pain.
We offer free seminars each month on our OsteoArthritis Treatment program and invite you to attend our next one. Simply call 623-334-4000, extension 9 to schedule a spot for the next seminar.