Pain Medication: Does It Increase Pain As Well as Cause Painkiller Addiction?

It’s well known that regular and continued use of prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Oxycodone, Codeine, Percocet and others ultimately lead to prescription drug addiction if it continues unchecked. But a new focus for the medical and substance abuse treatment community is how the presence of prescription painkiller use, abuse and addiction can actually lead to the increase in the experience of pain.

Painkillers and the Increased Experience of Pain

The Behavioral Health Central website says: “Some pain medications can actually cause or increase the pain that they are using the medication to manage.”

Some doctors have even named the phenomenon: opiate-induced hyperalgesia. Basically, this condition means that you are more sensitive to pain after a long period of taking pain management medications. In some cases, this can even mean that things that didn’t cause pain before you started taking painkillers are now painful for you. In studies, this response occurs in some animals after just one high dose of an opiate painkiller.

How Do You Identify Opiate Induced Hyperalgesia?

This condition is generally identified when you are on painkiller medications and yet continue to experience pain despite consistently increasing the amount of your dose.

It has also been identified in people who actively used opiates like heroin and prescription painkillers for years before getting treatment. After treatment, it is sometimes difficult to get effective relief from pain, especially for chronic pain.

Treating Opiate Induced Hyperalgesia

For those who are currently on high doses of prescription painkillers and are having difficulty getting any relief from pain, prescription drug rehab and immediate detox are usually recommended. The idea is that through reducing your tolerance, opiate painkillers in more moderate doses may again work for you. In some cases, non-opioid based painkillers are preferred so as to avoid the risk of opiate painkiller addiction.

Prescription Painkiller Addiction Treatment

Treating prescription painkiller addiction can be scary to those who are worried about the withdrawal symptoms associated with painkiller detox. When you stop taking a drug upon which your body has come to depend, you will experience different symptoms of illness that will vary in type and intensity based on a number of factors. For example, those addicted to high doses of opiate painkillers like Vicodin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and others may begin to feel nauseous, get a headache, start to sweat, get stomach cramps or feel nauseous, and experience bone and muscle pain within the first few hours after their missed dose. The best way to combat this is with a medical detox at a certified substance abuse treatment center that understands opiate addiction.

When you have completed painkiller detox, you can begin addiction counseling and alternative treatments to help you further cement yourself in sobriety before returning home. A big focus of prescription painkiller addiction treatment is relapse prevention, which provides you with the tools you need to fend off the urge to pop a pain pill when you feel stressed. For those with chronic pain, it can also include learning more holistic ways to address pain management without addictive drugs.

If you would like more information about our painkiller rehab here at The Canyon, contact us today.

Wendy Lee Nentwig

By Wendy Lee Nentwig
Guest Contributor

Articles posted here are primarily educational and may not directly reflect the offerings at The Canyon. For more specific information on programs at The Canyon, contact us today.

One Response

  1. kathy soika October 28, 2013

    I am a patient with chronic pain from real injuries, I am now in the 18th month of a diagnosis of a terminal illness that may kill me at anytime. Prior to that I was on so many different pain meds for my injuries, which I received from a patient in a hospital who went ballistic and even broke another nurses jaw during her “episode”. I find it very offensive that everyone want me to stop taking pain meds. I did not search out this life, it was an accident, but I could not even sleep without the pain relief. I know I am addicted, I follow all the rules, I have one doctor, I fight hard to not increase my dosage, even though my pain level on meds is enough to send most people to the ER in agony. All those who abuse these drugs to get high are the reason that it is so hard for people like me to get the meds I need just to sit up. And in the last month, my thirty pills for the month, have increased from 94 dollars to over 250 dollars, explain that. I have no insurance and am paying for all of this myself. I am not a leach on the system and I have never, I repeat never gotten high off my meds. I take one a day with an extended release covering and have never cut, chewed or snorted my meds. Yet, daily, on the news or on the net, I am bombarded with articles about how bad I am for taking these meds. I would love to give you all my pain for a hour and see if you don’t want relief. Start giving a **** about the people who truly need these meds when you write articles about how many people are abusing. There are people out there that take them for legitimate reasons and take them correctly.