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Prescription drug abuse rates are rapidly increasing in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the U.S. makes up only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet it is responsible for the consumption of 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs. Abuse of prescription drugs occurs who the drug is taken in a manner other than its intended purpose such as to get high.

Prescription drug abuse can take over someone's life if help isn't found. It doesn’t have to be this way though. For those who are struggling with prescription drug abuse and addiction, help is only a phone call away.

11-17 Correction in pain management process key to America’s fight against opioid abuse

Posted in Opioid addiction by Rachael - 0 Comments
Correction in pain management process key to America’s fight against opioid abuse

“Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.”

~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer, French physician, 1931

The Internal Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defined pain in 1994 as an “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.” Pain management, as a process, involves a bevy of disciplines ranging from science to healing arts to esoteric practices. Managing pain means systematically studying the prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Depending on the source of pain, its management could be either simple or complex. For example, a pain radiating down the leg in a nerve root irritation from a herniated disc calls for a simple pain management process. An epidural steroid injection and physical therapy in the leg arising from nerve root irritation due to a herniated disc can do the job.

However, if the pain does not subside, one may need to seek help of a pain management process that is more complex, requiring an array of skills and techniques, such as interventional procedures, medication management, physical or chiropractic therapy, psychological counseling, acupuncture and other alternative therapies.

Based on the source, pain is divided into two groups — nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain — deciding the line of treatment as well. Nociceptive pain originates from a cut or a broken bone. Due to tissue damage or injury, pain signals travel through peripheral nerves to the brain and the spinal cord, raising awareness that something is hurting. Neuropathic pain arises from the nervous system wherein there is no obvious source of pain and can occur out of nowhere. Examples are shingles and diabetic peripheral neuropathy (occurring when nerves are cut or after a person has suffered a stroke).

History of pain management

Early Greeks and Romans were the first to discover that the brain played a crucial role in producing the perception of pain. In their quest for pain treatment, physicians and scientists first discovered opiates such as morphine in the 19th century. Felix Hoffmann, a chemist, developed aspirin, which remains the most commonly used pain reliever. He derived it from a substance found in willow bark.

Future of pain management

The future of pain management is in genomics and other advanced technologies. Scientists are using complex genetic and molecular tests (microarray-based assays) in ongoing pain studies to understand pain and analgesia mechanism. Work is underway in computer-assisted technology to develop novel programs that will capture and quantify pain experiences.

Scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been able to identify a gene variant of an enzyme that can reduce sensitivity to acute pain and decreases the risk of chronic pain. An enzyme COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) produced during inflammation, presents itself to be a major contributor of pain. Behavioral interventions for pain have held promise either alone or in conjunction with drug interventions such as in cancer pain treatment.

America’s pain management gone awry

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, chronic pain affects about 100 million Americans, which is one-third of the total population. It is the leading cause of long-term disability in the country—surpassing diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined—and a major contributor to health care costs. It is also the prime reason why Americans access the health care system.

However, random and indiscriminate prescribing of opioids followed by gross misuse among people in the United States has landed the country in a predicament. The nation is in the throes of an unprecedented opioid epidemic where people are addicted to opioids in a never before scale.

Opioid pain relievers are powerful medicines that can be very helpful in treating severe pain, especially after a traumatic injury or surgery. However, there is a risk of addiction when taken for more than the number of days prescribed. The risk is slightly higher if there is a history of substance abuse in someone.

Do not ignore the side effects of pain medicines

If you or a loved one is battling prescription drug addiction, it is imperative to seek professional help. The Colorado Prescription Abuse Helpline assists in accessing the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Colorado that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call our 24/7 helpline number (866) 922-5915 or chat online with our experts to know more about the prescription abuse treatment centers in Colorado.