Recovery Messages & News

Using Medication for Pain: Hints and Cautions

By The HUM Clinical Team

For those struggling with pain, whether that be acute (immediate, short-term injuries) or chronic (long-term, usually lasting longer than 6 months), medication is often used in or as treatment. If you are given a prescription for pain-relieving medication in hospital or by your family physician, it is important to be informed and aware. We advise you to keep the following points in mind:

– Make sure you take your prescriptions according to the directions provided and do not alter course, dosages, or frequency of medication without consulting your doctor

– It is better to take anti-inflammatories and acetaminophen (Tylenol) together for pain relief initially

– Consider opioid medication only in serious circumstances (e.g., post-surgery or after a major injury). Again these need to be closely monitored by a physician and directions need to be followed

– If you have Addiction and are in recovery, it is important to have a doctor who is familiar with Addiction, as certain pain medications can affect the Addiction/reward circuitry and (re)activate cravings

– Approach all medications, especially opioids, cautiously. It is potentially risky for anyone’s brain to be exposed to this type of medication but the potential consequences for Addicts in recovery is particularly great

It is also important to remember that avenues like moderate exercise, nutrition, relaxation, spirituality, social connection, and emotional balance impact pain levels and promote recovery. Medication alone will likely not provide the relief that you are searching for so it is important to work with healthcare providers you trust to create a holistic recovery plan.