New Trend in Opiate Pain Treatment
Lately, I have been noticing a slow but growing trend in the treatment of pain. This is a good thing, but I did not expect to see it coming this quickly.
As we all know, over the past 12-18 months the country has been experiencing a heavy hitting crack down on the prescribing of opioid based pain medication. The advent of a national prescription drug monitoring program has allowed for practitioners to review any and all controlled substances patients have received in the recent past. As well, insurance companies are placing stringent, and seemingly arbitrary limits on the number of controlled substances they will cover for their clients.
Being on the front lines of this crisis, I have been confronted with sincere concerns from patients who have been relatively stable on moderate doses of opiates for years. Thought provoking desperate conversations have led to some incredibly meaningful discussions about the available options for the future.
What I did not expect was the willingness individuals have expressed to move to a more sustainable form of pain control. Initially, there is an incredible, and expected, concern about the unknown. This is good. This concern is a step forward, an opening toward alternative options.
Just today I had conversations with three different patients, all of whom have been on relatively high dose opiate pain therapy for an extended period of time. Each individual has a completely different situation; however, the outcome of each situation was a genuine desire to move toward a life with fewer opiates.
The trend I am noticing is this; individuals are ready to experience the pain involved with finding alternative treatments rather than continue to feel the ongoing pain associated with their opiate pain treatment. This is a sustainable and positive trend!