A few months ago, I was in a car accident and injured my back. I spent some time in the hospital and a rehab center recovering, but now I’m worried. My back continues to cause me pain and I have been taking a prescription for pain relief for months now. How do I know whether I’m addicted to this medication, or the pain in my back is really the cause of my need for medication? There is so much in the news about opioid addiction and I don’t want to be another statistic. I have spoken to my doctor, and he didn’t seem worried about it, but I am. Now what?
Boy, I am very surprised that your physician didn’t take your concerns more seriously. Over time, it does seem we, and our doctors, did become somewhat complacent about the amount of medication being prescribed. I think the tides are turning, but it can certainly feel like there is a pill for everything.
Seriously though, opioid addiction is a real problem in our country. We, here in the heartland are not immune. In the past, narcotics or opioids were used for short-term pain solutions. They are now used for longer periods to treat chronic pain. I’m no doctor, but chronic pain seems to be your issue. Back injuries ARE painful, and they can take a long time to resolve.
First, you need to ensure that you are taking medication only as prescribed. Misuse can cause serious harm and even death. So, be sure you’re using this medication correctly. Schedule another visit with your doctor and be clear about your concerns. You certainly CAN develop both a tolerance and physical dependence on opioids. Neither one of these options is ideal. You must visit your doctor, share your concerns, and come up with a plan to begin to slowly stop taking the medication. There are other options available, but only you and your doctor can make those decisions. Best wishes on your recovery.
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