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Chronic Concerns

Doctors fear patients will become addicted to painkillers

Most doctors don't ask. And many patients don't tell.

But if you're experiencing chronic pain, treating it is an important part of the healing process, says this article from the Boulder, Colo., Daily Camera.

One reason doctors don't ask about pain is because they're reluctant to prescribe medications. Physicians worry that by prescribing pain medications for long periods of time, they will create drug-addicted patients. According to the article, a survey of doctors revealed that their top priority for patients with chronic pain was getting them off painkillers.

But it's a fear that is largely unfounded. Fewer than 1 percent of patients get addicted to the medications their doctors prescribe. And patients often don't ask for relief because they're afraid to look like drug-seeking addicts.

Pain management specialists hope to change all that, reports the article. Pain clinics now use a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy, biofeedback, exercise, mental health care and drugs to help those in pain get some relief.

"I'm finally living some semblance of a life," says Nina Stephens, a fibromyalgia sufferer who was recently given a prescription for opioid drugs to treat her chronic pain.

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