If Opioids Have Not Relieved
Your Chronic Pain
Are you now
taking pain
pills or patches
containing opioid
medications
to deal with
chronic pain?
This brochure
has important
information for
people who have
pain that is likely
to last months
or years from a
medical condition
that is not life-
threatening.
If you have been taking opioids every day for a long time, yet you still have a lot of pain,
and your everyday life remains out of whack, that’s a sign that opioids may be the wrong
treatment for you. Successful treatments relieve distress and restore health, function and
well-being –– so life gets back to normal.
Why accept a treatment that is failing, especially if it may be making things worse and
there are better options? Keep reading so you are ready to talk to your doctor or get a
second opinion.
At the beginning, you probably went to the doctor because you were concerned about a
new symptom or because a change in your condition had disrupted your daily life. In your
case, your health-care practitioner’s treatment included an opioid medication. If months or
even years have passed since then, it is time to ask: How well is it working for you now?
Research has shown that long-term use of opioid drugs, particularly at high doses, is often
not the best treatment. Although opioids do help some people, better relief is usually
available elsewhere. Studies have shown that the best treatment for chronic pain does
not primarily revolve around medication. You are the owner of your body. You need to know
what you are putting into it. You also need to know whether a medical treatment is doing
what it is supposed to do. Every drug works well in some situations and less well in others.
Opioids Affect the Brain, Nervous System, and Many Other Parts of the Body
Prolonged opioid use can actually increase suffering and disability. Long-term reliance on
opioids alters the way your brain and nervous system interact, and changes how other
parts of your body function, too. (See next page for more information.)
Longstanding Pain Requires Different Treatment Than Short-term Pain.
Chronic pain is simply not the same as acute pain from a sudden illness, a new injury,
childbirth or a surgical procedure. Persistent pain changes people: how they spend their
days, what they do and don’t do, how they see themselves, how they feel day in and
day out, and their view of the future. Unrelieved pain wears you down and ruins your life.
Successful treatment gives you back your life and the nervous system heals itself!