Can Pain Management Treatments be Addictive?

Can Pain Management Treatments be Addictive?


Finding relief for pain is crucial for those who are struggling to cope with normal living because of it. If you know what this is like, you will already know that whatever you are offered you are likely to take if it means there is even the slightest chance of getting some relief. But what if you knew that the medication you were being prescribed had the potential for addiction? Would you still take it, or would you look for something else? It can be hard to make that decision in the moment, especially if your pain is affecting every aspect of live, from work to socializing to sleeping.

Dealing with Pain

Pain is either acute or chronic. Acute pain is sudden pain that is typically short lived, while chronic pain typically continues for more than three months. While pain can be mild and uncomfortable for some, for others it can be so bad that it robs them of a normal life. Those who experience such pain are often willing to try anything to get some relief; the potential for dependency is often the furthest thing from their mind.

Addictive Pain Medication

You may already be aware of opioid medications and the potential for addiction in those who take them over a long time. These drugs are commonly given to people suffering moderate to severe pain, for whom over the counter drugs are providing no relief. But while safe to take for a short period of time, i.e., around three days, they carry an elevated risk for addiction if taken longer than that. As you can imagine, this makes them unsuitable for treating chronic pain.

The reason these drugs are so addictive is because while they block pain signals in the brain they also activate the reward center. The longer a person takes opioids, the harder it is for them to break free. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about half a million people die every year from drug use, and more than 70% of those deaths are related to opioid use.

Can You Get Pain Relief Without Becoming Addicted?

There are other types of pain relief available that do not carry the same risks as opioids. The experts at medical cannabis pain clinic KindlyMD say that while not as effective at managing severe pain, there are other non-opioid drugs that can help. Pain management doctors usually create a tailored plan of care for their patients that will include a variety of treatments.

For example, they might recommend that a person have physical therapy along with anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain caused by an injury. For someone who is dealing with ongoing pain in the joints, some changes to diet and lifestyle might help.

The thing to be aware of is that for short-term pain relief, opioid medications can be highly effective. If prescribed such medications by your doctor or pain management physician, it is important to discuss your concerns and ask for advice about how to avoid the risk of addiction. Your doctor should provide you with information pertaining to the risks and benefits of any medication prescribed and will also discuss alternative types of treatment and how it could benefit you.


It is true that some forms of pain relief can cause addiction. Opioid drugs activate the reward center in the brain and if taken for an extended period of time can lead to dependency. If you are worried about taking opioid medication, then you should speak to your doctor about your concerns and ask for alternative treatment options.