Addiction Recovery and Chronic Pain Management

Addiction Recovery and Chronic Pain Management

Two challenges that are incredibly difficult to face on a day-to-day basis are addiction and chronic pain. Both are isolating; for example, chronic pain is hard for so many to understand, as they can imagine being in acute pain but can’t imagine what it would be like for it to be never-ending. It’s often the longevity of the pain that really causes psychological damage and pushes people further into addiction. Addicts may also avoid help for their chronic pain for many reasons, which makes relapse more likely. In this blog, we will outline why those in chronic pain have a harder time with their addiction and other methods to try. 

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

Understanding Chronic Pain and Its Link to Addiction

Chronic pain is when your pain lasts for a long time, typically for years. Those who have persistent chronic pain are looking at dealing with it for a lifetime. It can come from many illnesses, but some that cause debilitating daily pain are arthritis, fibromyalgia, botched surgery, hEDs, lupus, disc damage, and spinal cord damage. Short-term pain doesn’t tend to affect people mentally, at least not long-term, but chronic pain will change the structures in the brain when left untreated. Treatment is important but can be terrifying for an addict who may be worried they will be prescribed drugs they can become addicted to. 

To avoid this outcome, you should let your doctor know about your addiction issues and ask for treatments that are non-addictive. Below, we list some non-pharmacological pain management strategies to ask about. 

Non-Pharmacological Pain Management Strategies

With the help and monitoring of your doctor, you could use pharmacological methods that are not addicting. However, non-pharmacological interventions can be really helpful for the addict who is looking to avoid medication altogether. Here are some to try:

  • Physical Therapy to strengthen certain muscles to help stabilize the pain
  • Working with a therapist who is trained in chronic pain management with a well-rounded approach, helping you to grieve for the life your chronic pain has taken 
  • Some find that certain foods can exasperate pain; working with a nutritionist, you may be able to identify some if this is the case for you 
  • Alternative medicine, like turmeric and certain vitamins, under the guidance of your doctor 
  • Lifestyle changes, removing stress, getting more sleep when possible, and going on disability can all help you be in less pain more often
  • Lidocaine or menthol patches that are over-the-counter 
  • Braces and wraps

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Approaches

Although many of these Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) may not work for you, it’s worth giving them a shot in tandem with other methods. They just might bring the pain down to bearable levels more often, giving you some of your life back:

  • Acupuncture 
  • Massage
  • Laser treatment 
  • Meditation
  • Stretching 
  • Magnesium baths
  • Kinesio tape 

Addressing Psychiatric Comorbidities

Did you know that 80% of those with chronic pain also suffer from depression as a direct response to being in pain almost daily? This shouldn’t be surprising as things like exercise, eating healthily, having goals in life, and taking care of your needs become so much harder with chronic pain. Depression and anxiety can also be found in those who suffer from addiction. Treating the mental side of these disorders is just as important as the physical. You need someone in your corner who can lift you up and support your internal struggle, as well as doctors who help you physically regain some of your life. 

Creating a Personalized Pain Management Plan

You deserve to be at the center of your pain management plan. Your needs, your goals, your life, not the generic band-aid that some professionals attempt to slap onto addicts who have chronic pain. This will mean working with a team and measuring your results and progress. What activities you’re able to do with new treatments and whether certain symptoms are triggering relapses are two things to monitor. 

Sanctuary Recovery is Here to Help You

Addiction and chronic pain are a challenge that should not be faced alone. There should be an empathetic approach from everyone involved. If you are beginning the treatment of your chronic pain and have yet to find methods that help you enough to fight your addictive nature, living in a sober house might help you. Sometimes, you need your environment to make things easier, especially when physically you are unable to cope, let alone mentally. If you’re looking for a supportive sober living environment in Charleston, South Carolina, reach out today