Chronic pain is a serious health condition confronting many people today. Those of you living with chronic pain know first-hand that your pain is often disabling and for many of you there are few safe alternatives when seeking help. As a result, you may end up suffering or developing an addiction to the medications you are using to help manage your pain. Many people in chemical dependency recovery can relapse and even die from their addiction as a result of untreated—or mistreated—chronic pain conditions.
Physical pain is the reason many people start using potentially addictive substances. Chronic medication use plus genetic or environmental susceptibility can lead to increased tolerance as a result of searching for pain relief. Eventually the addictive substance no longer manages the pain symptoms. In fact, it often increases or amplifies the pain signals—a condition called opioid-induced hyperalgesia (an extreme sensitivity to pain) can also develop. The end result is severe biopsychosocial pain and problems.
When addictive disorders and pain disorders coexist, their negative impact more than doubles. Addictive disorders lead to one set of biopsychosocial problems, and the pain disorders lead to another set of problems. 1 + 1 no longer equal 2, rather 1+ 1 now equals 3 or more. This is called synergism. An effective synergistic treatment protocol for someone experiencing chronic pain and a substance addiction condition includes the following three components:
Appropriate Medication Management: A recovery-friendly medication management plan including collaborating with an addiction medicine practitioner/specialist. This person makes sure the medication is needed, is recovery friendly and is the right type, as well as the appropriate quantity and frequency so it would not trigger relapse.
Core Clinical Processes: It is also crucial to deal with irrational thinking, uncomfortable emotions, and self-defeating urges and behaviors, as well as the isolation tendencies that often develop with co-existing pain and addiction. Dr. Grinstead uses a cognitive behavioral therapy approach using the eight clinical processes in his Addiction-Free Pain Management® Workbook and is an important part of concurrent treatment for chronic pain and substance dependency.
Nonpharmacological (Holistic) Interventions: Here it is important to search out alternative non-pharmacological/holistic pain management modalities such as hydrotherapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, prayer, meditation, hypnosis, self-hypnosis, etc. Dr. Grinstead also suggests reading his Addiction-Free Pain Management Recovery Guide that has an entire section on these types of approaches. Many people also benefit from 12-Step and chronic pain support groups, which greatly enhance the recovery process.
With over 30 years of experience and expertise in the field, Dr. Grinstead specializes in challenging cases focused on chronic pain with coexisting psychological disorders, including addiction. He believes in a collaborative treatment approach to facilitate effective interventions and strategies to increase positive outcomes.
As a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC#37823) and a nationally recognized expert in addictive disorders and Advanced Certification in Relapse Prevention, Dr. Grinstead offers the following services in his Sacramento office.
- Assessment & Treatment Planning
- Addiction-Free Pain Management®
- Relapse Prevention for Pain and Addiction
- Pain Focused Psychotherapy
We also offer phone and video coaching services using Skype. Please contact us for a free 15 minute consultation to see if we can support you either in our Sacramento office or remotely. You can also submit specific questions to us using the form below.
Couples & Family Therapy
When loved ones are in chronic pain and have abuse or addiction problems, it affects the entire family and social system. This is why Dr. Grinstead and his referral partners also provide multidisciplinary support to help family members manage their feelings of frustration, learn how to communicate in healthier ways, and create a more loving supportive family environment.
If you are living with someone suffering with chronic pain and want more information please visit the Family and Friends page.
If you have any questions, please use the form below: