“When pain becomes such a problem that it interferes with life’s work in normal activities, a person may become the victim of a vicious cycle.… The urge to stop the pain can make some people drug-dependent and may drive others to have repeated surgeries or resort to questionable treatments. Adding to the problem, this situation can often be as hard on the family as it is on the person suffering from the pain.”
~ Marvin Seppala & David Martin, Pain-Free Living for Drug-Free People: A Guide to Pain Management in Recovery
Pain management in Colorado is a tricky situation, even under the best of circumstances. Part of the reason is because pain is such a highly personalized sensation. What may be tolerable for one person may be unbearable for another. Likewise, a treatment that has proven efficacy may leave some people with no relief whatsoever.
The problem is compounded when an individual has a personal or family history of substance abuse, such as alcoholism or drug addiction. Certain genetic and behavioral predispositions can increase the risk that the individual might succumb to dependence, misuse, and addiction.
Opioids Are NOT the Answer for Chronic Pain in Colorado
Although prescribing guidelines state that opioid pain killers should not be dispensed for long-term chronic pain, those guidelines have often been ignored by physicians. Why?
- There is no scientific way to accurately judge the level of pain that person feels. Physicians must rely on the subjective statements of their patients.
- It is possible to have pain even when there is no tissue damage.
- Today, many patients will walk of their doctor’s office with a specific solution already in mind – a particular medication.
What this means is that when a patient shows up complaining of debilitating pain, doctors frequently have to take that patient at his or her word and will prescribe an opioid painkiller as a means of relief.
Because of the mechanism by which opioids affect the brain, a person can become dependent, addicted, and then a chronic abuser of their legally-prescribed medication.
Colorado Newspaper: “CDC Guidelines Aim to Curb Painkiller Prescribing”
The problem has become so widespread that on March 15th 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—the top federal health agency in the nation—released their first-ever guidelines for the prescribing of opioid painkiller medications like OxyContin, Vicodin, and fentanyl.
As reported by the Denver Post, CDC Director Tom Friedman explained, saying, “We’re trying to chart a safer and more effective course for dealing with chronic pain.”
In a direct response meant to stem the twenty-year increase in pain pill prescription and abuse, the CDC is recommends that doctors implement several changes to the way in which they dispense pain medications, including:
- Opioids are NOT to be “considered first-line or routine therapy for chronic pain”.
- Therapy not involving medication, and, secondarily, non-opioid medications are the preferable options.
- Opioid medications should ONLY be given when the expected benefit to “pain and function” outweighs any potential risks.
- If opioids absolutely MUST be prescribed, they should be dispensed in the smallest-possible dose and shortest-possible duration, and only when combined with non-opioid pain relievers and various physical/exercise therapies.
- Non-opioid relief might come from acetaminophen, NSAIDs, and even certain antidepressants and anticonvulsants.
Denver Provides Many Options for Exercise Therapy for Pain
The key to managing long-term, chronic pain safely and without addicting opioids is to combine various physical/exercise therapies – each gets you closer to your goal of being able to live a full, sober, and productive life with as little pain as possible.
Perennially appearing on numerous “Healthiest Cities” lists – Forbes, the Travel Channel, Shape, Food & Wine, Men’s Journal and the USA Today, among others –Denver literally has something for everyone when it comes to finding a way to incorporate exercise therapy into their pain management routine.
This is what the best drug addiction recovery programs in Denver can do for you–address both of your issues – addiction and pain – by utilizing the distinct advantages that Colorado has over other locations. Even better, these advantages tie in nicely with the recommendations of the CDC:
- Weight Loss –According to many health experts, obesity is the #1 cause of many chronic pain issues – especially those of the back, hips, and knees. For example, a person who loses just 10% of their starting body weight can enjoy significant relief from arthritic knee pain.
In particular, Denver is well-known for having some of the healthiest options for people who are trying to eat better, as suggested by 2011’s “Healthy Food for All –Encouraging Grocery Investment in Colorado” report, released by the Denver Food Access Task Force.
- Exercise/Physical Activity –For someone who is trying to recover from substance abuse or alcoholism while at the same time dealing with chronic pain, nothing can be more beneficial to that recovery than exercise.
Regular exercise has been scientifically proven to help with drug cravings, while it also aids in weight loss, increases flexibility, and improves muscle strength, all of which can help with chronic pain.
Even something as simple-yet-effective as a leisurely nature walk can start to work wonders for your addiction recovery and your pain management program. You can start at any skill level and build up as you progress to resistance, aerobic, or aquatic exercises.
The best Denver drug recovery programs will incorporate regular supervised fitness routines as part of their overall treatment strategy. Many include outdoor activities, taking advantage of the natural splendor of the Front Range of the great Rocky Mountains.
AspenRidge Recovery is proud to be the number one drug treatment plan in Colorado, and the program offered here is perfectly suited for those dealing with pain management issues. In addition to established Evidence-Based Treatment protocols and time-honored 12-Step philosophies AspenRidge goes beyond the extra mile.
Healthy, nutritional meals are provided in the sober living facility, and there are numerous recovery-focused exercise programs, including hiking, group sports, and even equine therapy.
Only AspenRidge Recovery can give you the tools and knowledge you will need to make lasting changes in all areas of your life, thereby maximizing your chances of long-lasting sobriety.
If you need help, contact AspenRidge Recovery today.