It’s very difficult to stand by and watch someone you care about suffer from chronic back pain. Although a physician may have prescribed pain killing medications for relief, using opioids for chronic pain relief can sometimes lead to dangerous and potentially fatal drug addiction or accidental overdose.
Opiates to Relieve Pain Have Side Effects
Watching a close friend or family member suffer through chronic pain is a difficult ordeal for anyone. Physicians routinely prescribe narcotics to relieve pain, but using opioids may not be the best for patients since using them can result in opiate addiction or worse – accidental overdose, since these substances are addictive and can easily be abused.
Opiates, which are classified as controlled controlled substances under the FDA’s guidelines, are high addictive and may include any of the following:
These types of medications offer patients who use them temporary relief, but with the dangerous side effect of acquiring a dependency on them. Other common side effects of opioid administration include dizziness or nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, constipation, tolerance, or even respiratory failure.
Even when administered in small doses under the supervision of a physician, opioid painkillers can create a sense of euphoria or well-being in the user. This feeling can be very addictive to some patients. Opioids tend to lose their potency when taken over long periods of time, thereby requiring greater dosages in order to achieve the same levels of relief. The risk for addiction or dependency in some patients may therefore become higher as the physician increases the dosage over time. Patients who become addicted are also at a risk of taking higher doses of prescription opioids just to reach the same ‘high’ that they get when taking it.
Fortunately, patients today do not have to rely solely on narcotics to treat chronic pain. There are drug-free alternatives for chronic pain management and relief that are safer without any of the side effects normally associated with opioids or narcotics.
- StimRouter™: A neuromodulation implant system that addresses peripheral nerve pain. An FDA approved device which takes less than 30 minutes to implant, using local anesthesia and a small incision, StimRouter is an alternative to major surgery and narcotic medication. The device consists of a transmitter and a thin implanted lead that is places next to the specific nerve that is causing pain. Using electrical stimulation, it delivers relief through pre-set stimulation programs that can be controlled remotely by the patient.
- Spinal Cord Stimulators (SCS): These are devices that send signals to the spinal cord to block chronic pain. Like the StimRouter, spinal cord stimulators are comprised of electrodes, a signal generator and a remote control unit. As this treatment is more invasive and may not be for every patient, a screening process following an evaluation from your physician is needed to verify if this procedure is a viable option for you.
- Stem Cell Therapy: Regenerative medicine uses a patient’s own stem cells to promote healing in problem areas. Stem cell treatment is particularly effective for annular tears or disc degeneration. Its primary goal is to regenerate damaged tissue for regrowth of healthier tissue and bone. PRP is taken from our own blood, spun in a centrifuge to separate out the particles necessary for regeneration that are then injected at the site of injury.
Non-narcotic chronic pain relief is available to you or your loved ones without the side effects normally associated with prescription medications such as opioids. The team at Spine Institute Northwest is ready to help you. Contact us to learn more about the ways you can get back to living your life.