Monthly Dose

Monthly Dose > Volume 26 | February 2023


Tips for managing your chronic pain

Close-up photography of unrecognisable woman with hot water bottle healing stomach pain.

Chronic pain can be a symptom or side effect of many health conditions. Across Inspire, members share their tips for managing chronic pain.

Managing chronic pain with opioids in the shadow of the opioid epidemic

Opioids can be an effective, and controversial, method for providing pain relief. As a result of the opioid epidemic, the FDA has continued to evolve its regulatory approach to opioid treatment. In 2016 and again in 2022, the CDC issued updated guidelines for the use of opioids for pain management.

Unfortunately, patients have carried a great deal of the burden of the opioid epidemic and the subsequent public health attempts to control it. The opioid epidemic saw overdose deaths involving opioids increase by more than eight times from 1999. Once combating the epidemic became a public health priority, many patients found their doctors were unwilling or unable to prescribe opioids for pain management. In extreme cases, patients were cut off from their prescription medications suddenly, leading the FDA to issue a special safety announcement warning physicians and patients of the harm this could cause. 

You can see evidence of the difficulty patients experience in receiving proper pain management treatment across Inspire:

“My first doctor started me on methadone for 6 months and then dropped me for missing an appointment and kept calling me a drug addict because my [chronic pancreatitis] was caused by alcohol and I admitted to smoking weed. I believe this has followed me because my next pain doctor refused to even see me or explain why, and my current pain doctors will only prescribe things like Diclofenac, Meloxicam, or Gabapentin and while I have tried all of them as prescribed I have found these drugs only exasperate my condition.” Go to post

“My rheumatologist informed me that he doesn’t prescribe pain medication and suggested that I contact a pain specialist for my 4 overlapping autoimmune disorders. I explained that on a limited (disability) income I couldn’t afford yet another specialist copay. He then reluctantly prescribed Tramadol which I’ve been taking for several years now.” Go to post

“Now days it is common for all doctors to refer patients that need opiates for chronic pain to pain management doctors.” Go to post

“In my situation I had lost many pain management doctors because they didn’t understand why I was in so much chronic pain. Mine started with endometriosis and then TMJ, neck injuries, and the TMJ Implant surgeries that I have had. I would get established with a great Pain Mgmt. doctor and then whoops; they dropped me.” Go to post

Often, Inspire members will post recommendations for other members on how to go about finding a doctor to help:

“Have you looked for a pain management doctor in private solo practice or with only one partner? A lot can depend on which opioid you take and the dosage. How many other pain management doctors outside of this practice have you seen? You could try taking the revised CDC Guidelines into your doctor. But if this is their new policy. I doubt it will do much, if any good. It is common for it to take a doctor a while to be comfortable prescribing opioids. Many doctors start new patients out on non-opioids and go from there.” Go to post

Other ways of managing and relieving pain

Many people are looking for solutions for their pain that don’t involve opioids. The good news is that there are many options available. Across Inspire, members share the different ways they deal with their pain.

“Have you tried medical marijuana? I know it is still controversial but many have gone that route because they have been cut off by their drs for pain meds.” Go to post

“I have two overlapping autoimmune diseases, and did take tramadol for several years so I could sleep at night, without the pain keeping me awake. I adopted a diet protocol along the lines of Dr. Terry Wahl and went on a very very low carb diet, and made use of a cheap supplement called UCII, and eventually the diseases went into full remission and the pain level most days is at a zero level, without the use of any pain killers. I am still bone-on-bone in several joints and do not have full function, but at least the pain has disappeared almost completely.” Go to post

“Ask your doctor for a different antidepressant that helps with sleep or they may increase the dose for the one you’re on now…The psych meds can target brain and GI nerves. You might have to try a couple before it fully works on your pain.” Go to post

“I am one of those [people living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome] whose body cannot handle most pharmaceuticals so I have had to learn alternative ways to adapt, improvise, and overcome when it comes to the extreme amount of pain I experience. With EDS we use our muscles for a vast majority of our structural support to stand and sit in an upright position. I use compression style clothing under all of my clothes to support my body. It keeps my muscle from getting so tired, aka my super suit. (It seems the instability in my joints especially my spine is becoming more unstable as I am aging). Using braces for the ankles and knees help support and prevent further injury for me. Taking in to account that my muscles may need support from time to time more so on some days than others. This helps me tremendously with the muscle pain. Along with medical cannabis and various supplements to support the deficiencies in my body (Cusack Protocol) the only other medication I use is LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone) it was prescribed to me from my geneticist. It helps with the widespread inflammation my zebra body has problems with and has been a big source of the muscle pain I experience. It seems to be helping.” Go to post

Managing chronic pain can be difficult, debilitating, and may require a lot of trial and error before you are able to see results. Support communities like those provided by Inspire can help you find emotional support and research treatments that might help.

Did you know Inspire offers a community for those living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain? To see how more members are managing pain, join the community now.



Member comments have been lightly edited for length and clarity. This content is for general informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of any organization or individual. The content should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

– Lena Horne