In my experience, one side of pain management that doctors do not explore is how to manage your symptoms while reducing your medication intake. At one time, I was taking 28 pills a day due to the doctor lumping another pill on top of another in order to mitigate my symptoms. As long as you go along with this, you will either become addicted to medication or possibly reach a point of where the medication itself is toxic to you.
Even over the counter meds can pile up to the point that you do damage to your organs. With a few quick searches you can find very reputable research done on the effects of medications on your liver and kidneys. So, if we are worried about medication effects on our organs, what can we do? The answer is to actively look for therapies that reduce your reliance upon meds.
My personal experience was to try a multitude of therapies and I still try new therapies (especially if they are cheap and/or easy to try). We have already talked about massage therapy but that can be expensive. Stretching, which we discussed in the first installment of this series, is an easy and cheap therapy to try. Exercising to reduce pain was discussed last week. We will discuss heat therapy next week, pressure point therapy, topical treatment, and TENS therapy in detail in upcoming blog posts.
The goal of all of these therapies is to reduce your need for medications- both prescription and over the counter. Just to give you an idea, my current pill intake still bothers me in regard to how much I have to take but at least I’m down to 9 a day which is a 68% decrease in what I was taking just a few years ago.
How I would encourage you to progress is never to stop taking a medication unless instructed by your doctor and that is what I’ve always done but when I try a non-prescription therapy and it works, I ask the doctor if we can back off the medication to see if the non-medical therapy is working. Usually, he gives me the green light to give it a try. As I’ve been given the green light, we have whittled away at the pile of pills that I was taking and letting much of the slack to be taken up with non-medical therapies.
What does this mean for you? My advice would be to be relentless to constantly try new things, especially if it is easy or cheap to try. If you do try non-medical therapies, make sure to not stop your medication until you know the new therapy works and even if it works, be quick to restart medications if the therapy ceases to function. One of the things I have learned over the years is that I have to stay flexible because a topical may work for a period of time but then either my body or my reaction to the therapy changes and my pain level increases. Be sure to stay on top of your pain levels and if at all possible, reduce your medication intake. Your body will thank you.
#5 in a series of Personal Pain Management. For prior articles:
#1 How You Can Achieve Personal Pain Management http://bit.ly/2bSaRtn
#2 The Priority In Pain Management http://bit.ly/2bSakrz
#3 Personal Pain Management Through Massage http://bit.ly/2cu64P1
#4 Personal Pain Management Through Exercise http://bit.ly/2cu5sZQ