3 Tips That Will Help You Stay Healthy While Managing Pain…

Many older adults find themselves in difficult situations where chronic pain brings up strong emotions, fatigue, difficulty thinking clearly, and has a big impact on daily functioning. To cope with these problems, many people with chronic pain rely on opioid medications like Oxycontin, Percocet, or Vicodin.

These opioid medications have pros and cons. The pros are that they remain the most effective treatment for some kinds of chronic pain. They also can calm the strong negative emotions and fatigue so that people can function on a daily basis. However, these medications have a downside as well. They can be habit-forming and the body can develop a strong physical dependence on the medications, so that skipping even one dose of medication causes an intensely uncomfortable withdrawal syndrome of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, insomnia, irritability, and fatigue. The medications can also have cognitive effects and dull your thinking and judgement.

So how do people stay healthy while managing pain? Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Minimize the use of opioid medications. Ask your doctor if there are other medications that might help treat your pain. Ask if you can use over the counter pain medications for less painful days and save the opioids for more severe pain.

2. Treat the underlying cause of the pain. Is the pain related to a treatable problem? For example, if you are obese and it is causing you to have knee pain, can you take off some weight to minimize your knee pain?

3. Employ good self-help skills. Pay attention to taking care of your body with good sleep habits, good nutrition, and good “me” time.

If you have more questions please feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help!

Warm Wishes,

Dr. Jennie Byrne, MD, PhD

Author
Dr. Jennie Byrne, M.D., PhD. With over 15 years of medical expertise, Jennie Byrne, MD, PhD, is a board-certified psychiatrist with experience treating mental health conditions in adults, including dementia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and depression. After practicing in New York City for 12 years, Dr. Byrne relocated to North Carolina in 2008; she currently cares for patients in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill. Dr. Byrne earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She then received her doctorate from New York University Department of Neurophysiology. She also has a doctorate of medicine from New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Byrne went on to complete a psychiatry residency at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. In addition to her work as a psychiatrist, Dr. Byrne has performed extensive research on attention, memory, and depression. As a board-certified adult psychiatrist, Dr. Byrne focuses on the needs of each patient to pro

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