• Nicole Arzt

Chronic Pain and Addiction Recovery: The Do's And Don'ts



Approximately 1 in 5 Americans struggle with chronic pain at a given time. Similarly, a staggering 10.3 million people misuse prescription opioids, resulting in at least 130 overdose deaths each day.


If you're facing chronic pain and addiction recovery, you might feel confused or worried about your options. This may be especially true if you've relied on narcotic medication to relieve your pain symptoms. Let's get into what you need to know.


Do Be Honest With Your Doctor

It may feel scary, but it's so important to share any mediation misuse with your doctor. After all, an honest recovery requires honesty! They need to know if you've become tolerant of your prescription. Additionally, they also need to know if you're at risk for a severe withdrawal.


Remember that being honest with your doctor doesn't mean they'll stop your prescription right away. It's more likely they will discuss your treatment options and review the best strategies for seeking help.


Your doctor wants to support you and see you healthy! Even if you feel ashamed or scared about their reaction, they aren't there to judge you!


Do Consider Structured Treatment

Many facilities offer specialized care focused on pain management. This option may be beneficial if you need additional support.


Integrative treatment should include various clinical services, including individual therapy, group therapy, and regular meetings with a doctor. It also needs to entail a specific plan for medication monitoring.


Do Try Alternative Pain Relief Strategies

Although medication is undoubtedly convenient, it isn't the only option for relieving your pain. It's important to learn and practice other ways to cope when you're struggling.


Relaxation exercises can help relieve stress, which can relieve the intensity of your pain. Practice deep breathing throughout the day. Set aside a devoted time for meditation: consider listening to recorded scripts that focus on meditation for chronic pain.


Do Have A Loved One Help You With Medication

If, for whatever reason, you require narcotic medication, ask a loved one to dole it out for you. Have them stash it away without telling you the location. It's even better if it's out of your home altogether.


Of course, this strategy requires mutual accountability and a strong willingness to stay sober. It will be tempting to try to manipulate or lie to your loved one in moments of weakness. If you do take this route, it's helpful to create a reasonable plan with your doctor or therapist beforehand.


If this option feels too difficult, you may need an alternative approach. Discuss any potential changes with your care team.


Do Continue Attending All Your Appointments

Recovery entails managing both your physical and emotional well-being. Treating your chronic pain is an important part of your overall health.


For this reason, it's crucial that you adhere to any treatment plans, appointments, and recommendations provided by your health team. If you're not sure about something, get clarification. If you don't feel comfortable with one opinion, seek a second one.


But whatever you do, don't just hope things get better on their own. Recovery can be such a fragile experience, especially if you're newly sober. It's important to stay consistent with your schedule.


Do Not Allow Stress To Accumulate

This may be easier said than done, but excess stress tends to exacerbate pain symptoms. Stress activates your immune system and can trigger inflammation, which can intensify chronic pain.


Identify your stress triggers. What people, places, or things make you feel overwhelmed or anxious? Even if you can't avoid these situations altogether, make an action plan for how you can cope with them when they arise.


Do Not Compare Your Recovery To Anyone Else's

Your recovery is yours, and it's important to honor your unique process. This doesn't mean you won't relate to other people- instead, it's about avoiding comparison and shaming yourself.


If you're struggling with this, reach out for peer support or therapy. Having a support system in place can help you feel validated and understood. You deserve that!


This mentality also applies to medication. What works for one person may cause very different side effects for someone else. It's important that you remain honest with your intentions and do your best to focus on what works for you.


Final Thoughts on Chronic Pain and Addiction Recovery

Coping with chronic pain is no small feat. But misusing your medication will make things worse. Likewise, addiction tends to progress, which means you will continue struggling until you decide to make a profound change.


At The Resurface Group, we understand the complicated relationship between chronic pain and addiction recovery. We are here to support you or your loved one during this time. Contact us today to get started!