For two years after a surgery, pain shot down Jim Hecklers leg and he was on the hunt to find relief or ideally a cure to the chronic pain. Jim sought after many doctors who prescribed various narcotic painkillers with no other type of therapy. “I was taking whatever they gave me” Jim recalled.
His doctors were fine with Jim taking the narcotics long term, but Heckler was not okay with that. He found Dr. VijayVad, a sports medicine specialist at the hospital for special surgery in Manhattan, where Jim lives. Jim had high hopes of finding an alternative relief for his pain which hopefully did not include any sort of potentially addictive narcotics. Dr. VijayVad told Jim to get off all narcotics as soon as possible, lose some weight, do back exercise, take up yoga, go on some bike rides, ice frequently and take fish oil, glucosamine , and chondrotin supplements.
Jim lost 30 pounds, took all the supplements, and although the pain never completely went away, it was now tolerable enough to not take any painkillers. Dr. Vijay Vad is known as the “clean up guy” because he sees many patients who come in with these narcotics and he gets them off all of them. Dr. Vijay Vad feels very strongly that painkillers are not necessary and relief can be achieved with alternative routes.
He does not prescribe these drugs often for very important reasons; first, they can be addictive. According to the new Institute of Medicine report, studies show about 3% of chronic pain patients who regularly take opioids develop abuse or addiction, and 12% develop “aberrant drug-related behavior.” His second reason is that the patients become desensitized to the drugs, so they need higher and higher doses to combat the same amount of pain. In time, he says the pills fail to do any good towards patient healing and become less effective at masking the patient’s pain.
I think its great Dr. Vijay Vad looks for more alternatives rather than just shoving some pills down the patients throat as the first option for relief. For most people taking these painkillers, it is a temporary relief for the pain and not a cure. This is just masking the pain and not helping reduce the source till its gone. This sometimes can cause the user to form an addiction becausse they start to depend on the medicine to hide the pain and after awhile its a matter of needing it to function day to day. I think its stupid that doctors do not make more of an effort to find the source hopefully being able to skip the painkillers or at least use them for a very short period of time and not daily for the rest of the patients life. This seems to just be an easy shortcut for the doctors to get the patient out the room and make some money from the drug companies.
I would just like to see more alternatives for pain relief. I don’t think think narcotics should be the first option because of all the negative side effects. Rather it should be the last option after all else fails or if the pain really really needs relief fast. Unfortunately in American society and especially in the drug industry, short term profit seems to be valued more than the common good.