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Pain Management For Recovering Addicts

Every year thousands of people become addicted to prescribed pain medications. When someone addicted to opioids goes through detox and rehab, they can fully recover from their addiction. For some, however, the chronic pain that led to addiction is still present. It’s necessary to have pain management for recovering addicts that can provide relief without risking his or her recovery.

3 Minute Read | Published Sep 25 2023 | Updated Mar 11 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Dr. Norman Chazin
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Dr. Norman Chazin
Reviewed by

Is There Good Pain Management For Recovering Addicts?

Pain Management For Recovering Addicts

It doesn’t matter if an addict is recovering from prescription drug abuse or illegal drugs, and it isn’t important how he or she became addicted if they are suffering from pain due to an injury or surgery. Pain treatment is necessary in order for tissues to heal quickly and well. Without medication, the spinal cord receives continuous pain signals and turns into a longer chronic pain problem. Pain management for recovering addicts is challenging, but there are options that aren’t as aggressive.

  • For dental surgery, anti-inflammatory drugs such as prescription strength ibuprofen can be successful when taken short term. The primary concern is the risk of bleeding, but when used for only a few days, ibuprofen is generally accepted as safe.
  • For more severe pain due to injury or surgery, some doctors will prescribe Tramadol, which works as an antidepressant. It provides pain relief but does not aggressively work on the brain’s reward system. Tramadol is a narcotic and presents risks, but under strictly monitored and limited use it can be effective without becoming addictive.
  • Acupuncture is becoming popular with recovering addicts for long-term pain management. Originating in China, acupuncture has been an effective pain management tool that has been used for thousands of years.
  • Yoga and medication provides pain relief for many people. Reducing stress and calming the mind can strengthen the body’s ability to relax. Proper posture, correct breathing, and meditation has provided pain management for recovering addicts
  • A pain management program can include physical therapy activities such as stretching, low-impact aerobics, strengthening exercises, and pain relief exercises. Each has its part in successfully managing chronic pain.

Medications To Avoid In Recovery

Pain affects everyone, and that includes recovering addicts. A number of medications are too risky for those in recovery to use. Whether you have taken a fall, pulled a muscle, or had a wisdom tooth pulled, you must be overly cautious when it comes to any form of pain medication. The wrong medication can take you down the road to relapse, so be sure your doctor is full aware of the problems you have had with addiction and knows you are in recovery. Some of the medications to avoid in recovery include:

  • Soma
  • Darvocet
  • Darvon
  • Hydrocodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Demerol
  • Oxycodone
  • Opium
  • Percocet
  • Ultram
  • Morphine Sulfate
  • Codeine
  • Fioricet
  • Fiorinal

It’s dangerous to take an opiate during recovery. Because you have been re-training your brain and body, even a small amount of an opiate will jeopardize your recovery and pose a high risk of relapse.

Chronic Pain And Opiate Addiction

Chronic pain management for an addict in recovery is challenging. The chronic condition may be the reason they became addicted to opiates in the first place, but without pain management he or she can easily relapse. The physician needs to ask a lot of questions and understand the intensity of the patient’s pain. The proper assessment of pain is critical to keeping it under control while assisting the recovering addict to prevent a relapse.

If you or a family member have been struggling with chronic pain and opiate addiction are feeling tempted to use these dangerous drugs to manage it in spite of the risk of relapse, make an important phone call and talk to a professionally trained counselor. A single phone call can make the difference between relapse and maintaining your recovery. Call Better Addiction Care today at (800) 429-7690.


bullet National Library of Medicine
"Successful Pain Management for the Recovering Addicted Patient"
Retrieved on October 13, 2017
bullet Psychology Today
"Is Opiate Pain Medication Safe for Addicts? Part I"
Retrieved on October 13, 2017

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