Talk to Your Doctor
or Get a Second
Your doctor is trained
to consider your
concerns, preferences,
and circumstances
when planning your
treatment –– but can
only do so if you talk
about them. Take this
brochure to your next
visit and discuss it.
Ask your doctor to
choose treatments
that will allow you to
function as normally
as possible and have
an active everyday life.
And take responsibility
for learning the skills
needed to reduce your
own suffering.
For Safety ’s Sake
If you are taking opioids,
bring a list of all of your
medications to every
medical office visit.
The list should include
both prescription drugs
and things you buy at
the drugstore without
a doctor’s prescription.
That means everything:
pills, patches, injections,
ointments, vitamins,
herbals, supplements,
You should ask every
doctor who prescribes
any other medication
for you how it might
interact with your
opioids. If your doctor
doesn’t do this,
show your list to the
pharmacist and ask for
counseling about drug
interactions and side
Worrisome signs include things like running out of medication early, getting opioids
from different doctors, and lying about losing a prescription. Some people even turn
to street drugs such as heroin to satisfy their cravings. If a person with a previous
substance abuse problem of any kind develops a painful condition, consulting an
addiction specialist is advisable.
Untreated addiction ruins lives –– or ends them. This is why opioids should be used
for the shortest possible period and why other methods of pain relief should be
chosen whenever possible. Help is available by calling the toll- free Bridge Line at 1-877-
To Summarize…
The effect of long-term opioids on the way you think and feel often interferes with
normal everyday life. Opioids have a lot of other side effects, including worsening
pain in some people, and the risk of addiction.
If you are on one of these drugs and your pain is getting worse, or you are not
functioning in a way that lets you have a full productive life, then you should talk to
your doctor. Ask about getting off the opioids entirely to see how you do.
Other methods of relieving chronic pain work better for most people. The best
approach of all is for you to take charge of your own recovery –– and use techniques
to cope with your pain that will give you back your life.
A Day Without Pain, Mel Pohl, 2008, Central Recovery Press.
Franklin, et al, Am J Ind Med 48:91-99, 2005
Eriksen, J, Pain 2006: 125: 172-179
Franklin et al, Clin J Pain, Dec, 2009
Dunn et al, Ann Int Med 2010; 152: 85-92
Jennifer Christian, MD, MPH (occupational medicine / disability prevention & management), President of
Webility Corporation in Massachusetts, led the development of this document and is its primary author.
Substantive contributions were made by Melissa Bean, DO, MBA (family medicine/occupational medicine
in Missouri); Marianne Cloeren, MD, MPH (internal medicine/occupational medicine in Maryland); Marjorie
Eskay-Auerbach, MD, JD (orthopedics/spine surgery in Arizona); Steven Feinberg, MD (pain medicine/
physical medicine and rehabilitation in California); David Hanscom, MD (orthopedics/spine surgery in
Washington state); Ralph Jaffe, MSW, PsyD (social work/psychology in Pennsylvania); Maja Jurisic, MD
(emergency medicine/occupational medicine in Wisconsin); Michael Levine, MD, MPH (internal medicine/
occupational medicine in Virginia); William Nemeth, MD (orthopedics/pain management/ addiction medicine
in Texas); Suzanne Novak, MD, PhD (anesthesiology/health outcomes/pharmacy practice in Texas); and
Mel Pohl, MD (family medicine/pain management/addiction medicine in Nevada). Helpful comments and
suggestion for improvement were received from six additional reviewers in family medicine, internal
medicine, occupational medicine, pain education, and pain medicine.
© 2012 Webility Corporation. You may brand, reproduce, and distribute this document
ONLY IF the source and content are kept intact.