3 Tips Surviving the Opioid Crackdown
Due to an increased number of overdose related deaths from opioid painkillers, stricter guidelines are now in place to limit prescriptions. The impact on millions living with chronic pain is huge as more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are issued per day. Alternatives to opioids should not be the only topic when communicating with your physician.
Know your state of physical and mental health; keep a log of both throughout your treatments to help your physician authorize additional treatments in the future. Using a pain scale, as well as tracking your daily medications, symptoms, treatments, activity, mood, and sleep patterns will allow you to understand what works and what does not when managing your pain. These 3 tips will help you to keep your best interest in mind when looking at the alternatives.
The recent opioid crackdown should not make you feel as if you are someone being tested on or a drug abuser. Being informed on what works and what does not for treating your pain will provide your physician with valuable information to help guide future treatments. Researching alternative options and staying informed will help provide positive and effective communications with your physician. Tai chi, meditation, mindfulness, exercise and dietary changes have helped many other individuals find relief. Considering other alternative treatments such as physical therapy, injections, RF ablation therapy, or spinal nerve stimulation are other more advanced pain management solutions to talk to your pain specialist about.
2. Be Frugal
Thoroughly understand what your insurance plan will cover and plan accordingly. Insurance companies will adjust to the market needs in time, but understand what you are entitled to before leaping. Call your insurance company and ask questions – their customer service teams are properly equipped to help navigate the complex medical system and ensure you get the appropriate treatment or coverage needed.
3. Know MAT
Medication-assisted treatment can help transition an individual from opioids by reducing dosage of medications. It is generally regarded as the preferred route to opioid independence rather than "going cold turkey.”
Taking initiative to find the path that works best for you is most important. Volumes have been written on the above tips and gathering the information that fits your personal situation is up to you. Relying on just one person to give you the best answer is a tunnel-vision approach and may not result in an ideal outcome for your unique pain.