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Two years ago, if you had said the word opioid in my presence, I would have thought you were talking about a new kind of breakfast cereal. Then I read a book titled, Less Pain Fewer Pills: Avoid the Dangers of Prescription Opioids and Gain Control over Chronic Pain by Beth Darnall, PhD. It was about that time, I also started hearing that there is an opioid epidemic in our country and it has reached a crisis magnitude.

I don’t watch the news and it would be a rare conversation that ventured into the areas of drug use. Because opioids are not street drugs and they are prescribed legitimately by authorized physicians, why should they be called into question? I learned quickly while reading Dr. Darnall’s book that a major contributor to the opioid epidemic is people’s assumed right to comfort. We all feel like we deserve to be pain free and that anything that helps us establish a life with less pain is always a good thing.

Sadly, we all will have to deal with pain in some aspect of our lives. Whether physical, emotional, or mental, there will be times when pain is our companion – even if an unwelcome companion.

Did you know that before the 1990s, opioid pain killers were prescribed only for short term pain such as surgery or major injury? Since then, prescriptions have risen exponentially and according to the Centers for Disease Control, they have increased over 300% between 1999 and 2010. People are seeking relief from long term pain and doctors help them find it in prescribing narcotics that were meant as a short-term solution. This is a Problem.

In 2013, I was trampled by a 2200-pound workhorse. I was uncomfortable. For months, I longed to be comfortable again. I could have taken powerful narcotics to ease the pain of crushed ribs, but every prescribed medication made me so sick I couldn’t eat. Every pill, even the over-the-counter variety was my digestive enemy. I was hopelessly uncomfortable. Since learning about opioids, I have thanked God that every drug made me sick. I could be one of the statistics of unsuspecting individuals who get hooked on painkillers and feel like they can’t live without them even after the excrucpain is gone.

I the Less Pain Fewer Pills book, I learned that there are practices people can engage in to combat both pain and pills. They take more effort than popping a pill, but they are less costly and have greater benefit if followed consistently. Opioids might have a place in your medical program, but your mind is a much better controller of pain than your prescription and learning how to use your thoughts to reduce your pain is a strong deterrent to reliance on pain medication.

You can read my book review here,  but let me give you a few ideas for long term solutions to pain that are not addictive, are sustaining and healthier options for pain remedy and pain prevention in the future.

  • Pray without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • Physical Therapy
  • Stretching
  • Meditation
  • Wholesome Relationships
  •  Therapy or Counseling
  • Exercise – even walking can reduce physical and emotional pain
  • Non-addictive pain medication

Comfort is possible. Comfort is desirable. Get your comfort from healthy sources for a heathier and more comfortable you.