The big O or Opioids are prescription pain medications that treat acute (short-term) pain, such as pain associated with surgery or a medical procedure. They are also used to treat chronic pain (pain lasting more than 3 months) or reduce pain in palliative or end-of-life care.
Did you know in 2019, Johnson and Johnson, the leading opioid manufacturer, were ordered to pay 572 million dollars for their role in the opioid epidemic? That's a considerable number, and chances are, if you have had pain or surgery in the past, you have taken an opioid. The problem with opioids is that they are highly addictive. You may not have even realised what you were taking, 18% of current opioid consumers did not recognise the term 'opioids', and only half (53%) were aware that they were taking an opioid medication. Some common opioid medications go by the name Fentanyl, Oxycodone, Codeine or Tramadol.
Pharmaceutical opioids are now responsible for far more deaths and poisoning hospitalisations in Australia than illegal opioids such as heroin.
Every day in Australia, nearly 150 hospitalisations and 14 emergency department admissions involve opioid harm.
54% of consumers took prescription opioids to treat chronic non-cancer pain, with 64% prescribed Codeine, 22% Oxycodone and 21% Tramadol.
73% of consumers were prescribed their opioid medication by a GP. They are seen as an important, trusted source with significant influence.
Only half of the consumers (56%) felt they were using opioids safely. Around one-third of current
consumers (30%) felt dependent on their opioid medication.
As I have been combing the studies, a therapy for pain reduction that has made significant changes in the pain world is LLLT or photobiomodulation.
Below are the excerpts from some of these papers. They argue that LLLT or photobiomodulation is a cost-effective and safer option for opioid pain management.
"The therapy involved the use of a high-intensity cold laser device to treat three patients who had become addicted to prescription opioid-containing analgesic medication for treating chronic (residual) pain after a major operation. After receiving a series of 8-12 treatment sessions lasting 20-40min to the painful surgical area over a 3-4 week period of time with the high intensity (42W) Phoenix Thera-lase laser device, an FDA-approved Class IV cold laser, these patients were able to discontinue their use of all oral opioid-containing analgesic medications and resume their normal activities of daily living." (1)
"Given the current opioid crisis in the USA, it is time to seriously consider incorporating these "alternative" analgesic therapies into treatment protocols for managing acute and chronic pain rather than adding more "fuel to the fire" by administering even more opioid-related drugs. A simple, safe, and effective non-invasive pain therapy without side effects could significantly reduce the dependence on oral opioid-containing medications in the post-discharge period after surgery. These non-pharmacologic therapies would also be cost-effective alternatives to opioids for treating chronic pain not responding to non-opioid analgesic medications. It would appear that both electroanalgesia and laser therapy are safer and more cost-effective for managing chronic pain than the long-term use of opioid analgesics. Finally, HILT could be a valuable therapy for treating patients who have become addicted to opioid-containing prescription medications." (2)
"Perhaps it is time to consider the use of 'alternative' nonpharmacologic therapies like cold laser therapy rather than potentially compounding the management of chronic pain by giving even more drugs. In the new clinical practice guidelines for the management of back pain published in the Annuals of Internal Medicine, the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians endorsed the use of non-invasive treatments like cold laser therapy for the treatment of acute, subacute and chronic low back pain. If a simple, safe and effective non-invasive non-pharmacologic therapy can reduce dependence on oral opioid-containing medications in the post-discharge period after surgery, it could also prove to be a highly effective approach to treating patients with chronic pain not responding to non-opioid analgesic medications. More importantly, novel approaches like cold laser therapy may represent a cost-effective alternative to the chronic use of opioid analgesics in the future. Finding a reliable non-opioid analgesic alternative for managing subacute and chronic pain would be extremely valuable in dealing with the current global opioid epidemic." (3)
In summary, before you rely on medication, look at High powered laser for pain relief.
At Balanced for Life, we use the MLS laser, which is proven to help reduce pain and inflammation.
If you want a safe alternative with no side effects, then look no further than Balanced for life.
White PF, Elvir-Lazo OL, Hernandez H. A novel treatment for chronic opioid use after surgery. J Clin Anesth. 2017 Aug;40:51-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinane.2017.03.046. Epub 2017 Apr 21. PMID: 28625446.
White PF, Elvir Lazo OL, Galeas L, Cao X. Use of electroanalgesia and laser therapies as alternatives to opioids for acute and chronic pain management. F1000Res. 2017;6:2161. Published 2017 Dec 21. doi:10.12688/f1000research.12324.1