When Patients Have Pain
We have all been watching the news. A famous athlete gets caught with a DUI and doesn’t have a drop of alcohol in him. But he had back surgery and ended up with a bigger problem than back pain.
Patients come to our office for a variety of problems but it is usually back pain/ neck pain/ leg pain . A major concern that all have in common is that they all want relief from that pain. The “old school” way to treat pain was to give a prescription for pain medication or perhaps a cortisone injection. Everyone is familiar with the feeling that you have to leave the doctor’s office with a prescription in hand, be it for antibiotics for a cold, or narcotics for pain. That is not how it works anymore. Overuse of antibiotics have created “superbugs” that are almost impossible to treat, and opioid (narcotic) addiction in the US and Canada is out of control.
At ShimSpine we believe that it is best to limit all narcotic medications. These medications are best used for severe postop pain. Occasionally we may hear a complaint from a patient, stating that is the only thing that will take care of their pain. Keep in mind, narcotics only mask the pain. The goal is to treat the underlying cause.
Anti-inflammatories are an important part of any injury treatment. We will coach patients on pertinent exercises and correct posture. Sometimes these exercises can cause initial discomfort, but if patients would take this as a serious way to treat their condition, they would find that often it is the simplest of solutions that work the best long term. We may discuss natural supplementation as a way to assist you in your goal of optimal health. There are natural plant based alternatives, without the common side effects of the standard steroid injections. Ask us about prolotherapy and PRP, as natural treatments to use the body’s own healing mechanisms. We may also recommend dietary changes, such as low glycemic diet for weight loss or anti-inflammatory diet to decrease inflammation throughout your body.
It seems as though some patients may be skeptical of going the conservative route, wanting quick relief of their pain. Although this is understandable, with today’s increasing problems with drug addiction and narcotic abuse, we are pleased to be able to offer alternatives. Often changes in lifestyle can give all of us better, longer term solutions to optimal health. When and if these solutions don’t do the trick, surgery may be the appropriate route.
- Fox LM, Hoffman RS, Vlahov D, Manini AF. Risk Factors for Severe Respiratory Depression from Prescription Opioid Overdose. Addiction. 2017 Jun 23; PubMed PMID: 28646524
- Menendez ME, Ring D, Bateman BT. Preoperative Opioid Misuse is Associated With Increased Morbidity and Mortality After Elective Orthopaedic Surgery. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2015 Jul;473(7):2402-12. PubMed PMID: 25694266