Pain management at Hazelden is not opiate-based treatment. Meaning, we do not prescribe opiates (morphine, oxycontin, fentanyl) like many pain management clinics.
Our overall goal is preservation and improvement of the quality of life and reducing the risk of unnecessary procedures and complications from medications. We work with other pain management physicians, surgeons and primary care physicians to ensure cohesive care is delivered. Our expertise is in chemical dependency, addiction, and neurobehavioral pain management. Our first goal is to help our patients medically detoxify from the opiates they are dependent upon, misusing, or have become addicted to.
Pain Management Assistance
Video with Dr. Andy Mendenhall
It is important to remember, opiates are the most powerful medicines that doctors can prescribe in terms of profoundly changing the chemistry of many parts of the brain. The significance of these changes is why many people who take opiate pain medicines for pain, find it extremely difficult to stop taking them.
Increased physical discomfort and pain, severe anxiety and mood disturbance and sleep problems are all associated with both the taking of opiate pain medicines and the attempt to taper off these medicines. The physical withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping opiates confirm the diagnosis of opiate dependence.
With more than 13,800 reported deaths in the United States in 2008 from prescription opiate overdose, it is truthful to state that much harm is being done by these medications. Patients who desire to change or eliminate their dependence on opiates begin working through our buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) detoxification program.
Our patients with pain and opiate dependency simultaneously work with counselors, other pain patients in intensive outpatient treatment and detoxify using buprenorphine.
By using a pharmacologically different opiate (buprenorphine) for the indication of opiate dependence, most patients find they are able to reduce or eliminate their need for opiate medicine. This takes months, and the support of a care team who desires to know each patient.