Questions in Pain Control
I hear it everyday. With the growing awareness as to the potential harm and addiction associated with pain control medications, patients have begun to question their own prescriptions and over-the-counter pain control meds. “Should I be taking this much Advil for my headaches?” or “My doctor prescribed me Celbrex, should I take it?” And on and on...
These are truly difficult questions. How can a practitioner judge how much pain any one person should normally experience on a day-to-day basis? How much pain can you “work through”, and when is medication appropriate? The answers to these questions are so difficult because pain is subjective and every patient is different. But, we do all have one commonality-- nobody wants to be in pain.
Over the years, my compassion for my patients has shaped and changed my answer to these questions. I generally tell my patients now that I, as a practitioner and caregiver, do not want them to be in pain. My goal is to help them alleviate this pain. If I were required to choose for my patients between a lifetime of pain and medication to control it, well, I’d likely choose the medication. But now-- I would make this choice knowing there’s a price for pharmaceutical pain control. I think deep down we all know that there is a price to taking our pain control meds.
I am an acupuncturist because I have found, both in practice and my own life, acupuncture to be an effective treatment for conditions that cause pain. So, for me this begs the question-- why don’t we try this first? Why don’t we always try acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage therapy, etc. first? My answer- I’m not sure. But, for my patients, I know my answer to them is generally, “Let’s try acupuncture first.”
Karin Nassar - Licensed Acupuncturist as Bay Chiropractic & Rehabilitation.