Being in an accident or having major surgery done can leave you in a lot of pain. There are many people who end up becoming addicted to prescription pain medications after an injury because they don’t take them as prescribed. It’s important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from becoming addicted to the medications because overcoming addiction can be difficult to do. The following guide walks you through a few things that you can do to decrease your chances of becoming addicted to medication after an injury or surgery.
Monitor Your Pain After Injury
It’s important to monitor and document your pain when recovering from an injury or surgery. It’s best to keep a journal that documents how intense your pain is throughout the day. You need to annotate where you are feeling the most pain, what causes the pain to become more server and how you feel after taking the medications. This allows you to keep track of your pain management so that you can talk to your doctor if you aren’t able to control the pain on your own.
Don’t Live in Pain
Many people are so fearful of becoming addicted to pain medications that they will try to go as long as they can without taking anything or their pain. This isn’t a good idea because the pain can often become so intense and unbearable that the medications will have little to no effect once you do take them. Doctors prescribe pain medication to make the pain that you experience more manageable so that you don’t have to live in pain on a daily basis. Taking the medications as prescribed will make the pain more tolerable and allow you to live a better quality of life while you heal.
Take Medications in the Proper Doses
The prescription that the doctor gives you will have specific dosage information on it. It’s important to read the information closely and make sure that you are taking the proper doses at all times. If the dosage that the doctor prescribed to you isn’t working well to make the pain tolerable, you need to talk to your doctor before taking increasing the doses that you take. Taking more of the medication than you are supposed to take can lead to addiction because as you increase the dose, your body becomes desensitized to it. This means that in the future, you will have to take more and more of it to get the relief that you need.
Take the Medications on Time
Prescription pain medications are designed to be taken at specific intervals throughout the day. Some are designed to be taken every four to six hours, while others are designed to only be taken once every 12 hours. You need to look at the labeling on the medications to determine how often you should be taking your medications. Set alarms so that you don’t take the drugs any sooner than you should be. If you take the medications too frequently, it can diminish the effectiveness of the drugs as your body builds up a tolerance to them. When you notice that you aren’t feeling as much pain anymore, try to extend the hours between medication doses so that you can slowly wean yourself from the drugs.
Use Numerous Pain Management Techniques
Do not use pain pills as your only source of pain management. It’s important to use other pain management techniques so that your body can heal in the best ways possible. Going to physical therapy can be great for many injuries because it allows you to stretch out your muscles and rebuild areas that are damaged. Massage therapy, chiropractic care, and even acupuncture can all be great sources of pain management. It may take a few sessions of any of the techniques mentioned above before you are able to truly reap the benefits of the techniques though.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you notice that your pain is still unmanageable after taking the medication and using other pain management techniques, it’s time to go talk to your doctor. You need to be upfront and honest with him or her about the way that you are feeling. There are many times when different medications can be prescribed to treat the pain. It’s also possible that something else is wrong and needs to be addressed. Sometimes having one injury repaired leads to another issue becoming more noticeable. Your doctor can help you find the right pain management option for you.
Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
When you are in recovery after an injury, the last thing you want to do is push yourself too hard. If you push yourself before your body is ready, you could injure yourself again or make the situation even worse. Take it easy at first and begin to solely get back to doing the things that you used to be able to do. The doctor should give you exact directions on what you can and cannot do for the first few weeks after an injury or surgery. Follow those directions closely to minimize the chance of reinjuring yourself.
If you make the mistake of taking the pain management more often than you should or taking more doses than you were prescribed and feel that you may have an addiction to the drugs, there is help available. You can seek inpatient or outpatient treatment for your addiction. The first thing you are going to have to do is detox from the drugs. When you are overcoming a painful injury, this will be very difficult because you not only have to deal with the withdrawal symptoms but also have to deal with the pain that comes with your injury. Inpatient treatment is often the best option for this type of situation because there are medications that you can take to minimize the withdrawal symptoms that you will inevitably go through to make the detox process easier. You can also get pain management help while you are in the facility so that you can heal yourself in mind, body, and spirit.
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