PUBLISHED: 4:12 PM on Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Managing chronic pain
Has the recent FDA probe into the entire class of Cox-2 inhibitors left you in pain and worried about what relief options you have now? The withdrawal of popular prescription pain killers from the market has left many chronic pain sufferers questioning, "What alternatives do I have now to manage my pain?"

You're not alone

Chronic pain is a serious issue and is a difficult burden to carry. It can affect and interrupt all facets of your life, including your job, marriage, daily activities and relationships. It leads many people on a quest to find any way possible to keep pain at bay. All pain is caused by inflammation and can be a hallmark of many conditions. Some common culprits are: fibromyalgia, nerve damage, neuropathy, arthritis, sciatica and joint stiffness. Recently, American Idol judge and celebrity, Paula Abdul, announced that for the past 25 years she has been battling a rare and often misdiagnosed medical condition called complex regional pain syndrome. With Abdul's admission, she has thrust the topic of pain again into the media and, in turn, validated that it is a very real and serious problem that most people and doctors just don't understand.

Chronic pain is misunderstood

Chronic pain can be a very isolating experience because doctors often view pain as a mere 'byproduct' of an inflammatory condition you are battling like arthritis or chronic back pain, rather than as a serious health issue. Plus, there are very few doctors trained to just treat and address chronic pain sufferers.

Unfortunately, there is no distinct "cure" for pain. Rather, there is a series of treatments geared towards "managing" pain. These treatments often involve taking strong prescription painkillers that have the potential of being very addictive, or you may become physically dependent upon them. Examples of drugs that can cause physical dependence include corticosteroids and beta blockers. Addictive drugs are mainly opiodis, a family of drugs that has effects similar to that of opium or morphine. In fact, popular political commentator, Rush Limbaugh, admitted an addiction to pain medications.