Many people who have been taking opiates for chronic pain may develop serious problems with long-term use. Some of them may even develop and addictive disorder due to prolonged exposure to their medication. Others develop tolerance to the medication and need ever increasing dose increases. Others develop a condition known as hyperalgesia.
Although you may already know what hyperalgesia is I’m including a definition of opiate-induced hyperalgesia from Wikipedia—the free online encyclopedia—for those of you unfamiliar with this phenomenon.
Opioid-induced hyperalgesia or opioid-induced abnormal pain sensitivity is a phenomenon associated with the long term use of opioids such as morphine, hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and methadone. Over time, individuals taking opioids can develop an increasing sensitivity to noxious stimuli, even evolving a painful response to previously non-noxious stimuli (allodynia). Some studies on animals have also demonstrated this effect occurring after only a single high dose of opioids.
If an individual is taking opioids for a chronic non-cancer pain condition, and cannot achieve effective pain relief despite increases in dose, they may be experiencing opioid-induced hyperalgesia. In this case, they may benefit from complete withdrawal from opioid therapy. Many individuals report reduced pain levels when opioids are withdrawn.
I believe an important part of effective chronic pain management is understanding everything you can about your pain and then learning some effective tools that will allow you to respond in an appropriate way so that you can improve the quality of life. Whenever you experience pain, it is always appropriate to ask: “What is my pain trying to tell me?” Remember, pain is trying to tell you that something is wrong, that you should find out exactly what it is, and find a way to address it—not mask it.
To learn more about how to achieve effective chronic pain management please check out my article Overcoming Obstacles for Effective Chronic Pain Management that you can download for free on our Article page.
You can learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System at our website www.addiction-free.com. If you or a loved one is undergoing chronic pain management, especially if you’re in recovery or believe you may have a medication or other mental health problem and you want to learn more effective chronic pain management tools, please go to our Publications page and check out my books; especially the Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide: Managing Pain and Medication in Recovery. To purchase this book please Click Here.
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