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Prescription, Pain Pills and Addiction

Yeah, it's football, baseball, and basketball season! Sports are high on the list for schools and professionals. But what's not on the list is the injuries that often ensue with playing these contact and high impact sports. How these injuries are treated will make a big difference to all. So often players and staff are all caught up in the win. But win at what cost? It is very important to act quickly with any injury small or large. Get prompt medical attention. Usually imaging, and RICE,(Rest, Ice, compress, and elevate) for minor injuries. Sometimes there may be a need for pain medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. When there is no relief from doing these basic things it is time to get serious about treatment and avoid reinjuring by overuse.

Sometimes, over the counter pain medications may not work well. This is when it is imperative to seek professional help and never just take medication given to you from a family or friend. Not even an athletic trainer, unless prescribed by a provider. Prescription medications can create problems if not used in the correct manner. I found a very relevant story that I have heard over and over again in some form or another from my patients. "A construction worker in his 30’s refused opiate pain medication at an ER, stating “That stuff messed me up bad," he told the ER doctor. In his early twenties, he'd had a similar episode of back pain after heavy lifting. Doctors prescribed opioid painkillers. He soon found himself addicted to them. He went from doctor to doctor to get prescriptions, then turned to buy drugs on the street. It took him 10 years to get clean."I know what that stuff can do to you," he stated, "I'd rather deal with the pain" Although prescription pain medication is necessary at times, they can lead to trouble unawares. It is best to make sure that if given a prescription pain medication such as an opiate, Percocet, or Vicodin to follow up with your prescriber and let them know if they are not working and to try other modalities to help with the pain.

I do not advocate for or against pain medication. They are needed at times, such as surgery, etc. But I also know that there has been a rise in addictions from prescription drugs and we all have to be diligent to avoid contributing to that epidemic. Join me on Saturday, September 26th, at Living with pain: Live Q& A, click here, to help find ways to work through the pain and ways to help avoid further injury to your life. You can also visit us at for more information on pain management.


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