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Opioids for Pain Relief: Weighing the Risks and Benefits

Pain is one of those things that we can’t wait to get rid of. No matter where the pain is coming from, it interferes with everything good in life, limits our activities, and makes us feel ill. For severe pain that cannot be relieved by over-the-counter pain relievers, doctors may sometimes have to prescribe a stronger alternative in the form of narcotics or opioids. 

Opioids are effective in treating severe, persistent, and chronic pain. Opioids are prescription drugs, which means that you cannot purchase them without presenting a prescription form signed by a licensed physician.

There was a remarkable increase in the prescription of opioids to treat chronic pain from 1999 to 2015. However, this surge came with the rise in the number of opioid misuse and overdose cases, prompting the Department of Health and Human Services to announce an opioid crisis in 2017.

Benefits of Opioids

Opioids work by attaching themselves to opioid receptors in the brain and other areas of the body, blocking the body’s pain signals from being sent to the brain. Since they mask pain, many patients find relief after taking the drug.

Doctors in Valley Medical Pain Clinic in Minneapolis agree that if opioids are taken in prescribed dose and as instructed, it can help patients who have been suffering from severe and chronic pain. When used for a long time to manage long-term pain, however, patients are at risk of developing an opioid addiction. This is why opioids are best taken only under the strict supervision of a doctor.

Risks of Opioid Use

Opioids can be highly addictive and using them for a long time can have the following side effects:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness

According to experts in addiction treatment in Minneapolis, patients who cut off opioid use abruptly may also manifest withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, vomiting, tremors, insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, and abdominal pain. Before patients can stop taking opioids completely, they should taper down their intake first with the help of a doctor.

If your body has been reliant on opioids to block pain signals, it can develop a tolerance for the drug, so that the same dose will not be as effective as it was before. Patients would then need to take a higher dose of opioids to achieve the same anesthetic effect. This process can lead to opioid addiction.

Aside from opioids, there are other safer yet effective ways to manage chronic pain. Our experts in pain management use specialized methods to assess the source of your pain before devising a treatment plan suited to your needs.

Learn More About Valley Medical’s Addiction Treatment in Minneapolis

If you've been dealing with the effects of opioid addiction or if you know someone who is struggling with this condition, it is best to consider a trusted provider of opioid addiction treatment in Minneapolis. 

Our friendly and experienced addiction treatment experts will guide you on your road to recovery. We have clinics in five convenient locations to serve you better. Our clinics are located in Burnsville, Minneapolis, Woodbury, Rochester, and Bemidji. To learn more, call us at (612) 444-3000.


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