Why it is Crucial for the Chronic Pain Patient to Stop Using Narcotics – ASAP!
One of the most heart-wrenching experiences any human being can experience is watching a loved one die. I am going to tell you this story so that you know we fully understand the power of narcotic medications. Pastor Peter was a person who exuded kindness. He was one of the most Godly, compassionate, wisest people we have ever known. In 1995, Pastor Peter, our young (41 year old) spiritual mentor and friend was dying. He had a humongous (baseball size) tumor protruding from one of his ribs and he needed hundreds of milligrams of intravenous morphine to control the pain. It was awful. Eventually he needed such high doses that the morphine put him into a stupor. He decided he didn’t want to be like that anymore. He couldn’t think straight and it surely wasn’t living! So the church prayed for him. I joined two other men of the church who shared an all night vigil keeping tabs on Pastor Peter. He wanted to wean himself off of all the morphine in one night. He was watched all weekend. After that weekend he was narcotic free. Throughout the weekend and the next week he suffered no side effects…nothing. No withdrawal. He never needed or used morphine after that night. He died a couple of months later. Was what we saw that night a miracle or an act of the will? We can debate it, but I would say it was both. God prompted him to ask for something miraculous and then it happened. I witnessed it personally.
I have been involved with helping people get rid of their chronic pain for over 16 years. I am convinced more than ever that almost every chronic pain patient can have the same experience as Pastor Peter, if they come to the point in their life where they realize the narcotics they are consuming are very detrimental to their health. For those reading this article who are taking narcotics, your initial reaction might be “…but I need them for the pain.” What people may not realize is that the narcotics are often partly to blame regarding why you continue to have worse and worse pain.
In order for a person to have complete remission of his/her pain, it is crucial to get off of narcotics. Yes, this means get off of Tylenol with codeine, vicodin, darvocet, duragesic, morphine, oxycontin, fentanyl, percodan and the rest of the narcotics. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that narcotics suppress the body’s ability to heal. Without the ability to heal the damaged areas, there is little hope for repair of the body. Below is a handout we give to clients who use narcotics:
Facts about Narcotics
What are Narcotics?
The term narcotic is derived from the Greek word for stupor. At one time, the term applied to any drug that induced sleep, but most refer to drugs that have strong analgesic properties. Narcotics are medications that are morphine-like, whereas a similar analogy is NSAIDs, which are aspirin-like. There are numerous NSAIDs available because each NSAID company believes that their product is safer and more effective than the others are. The same is true with the various narcotics. Each pharmaceutical company producing narcotics tries to develop an even stronger pain reliever with fewer side effects. By definition, narcotics, which act in a manner similar to morphine, are immunosuppressive.
Here is a list of some of the most commonly prescribed narcotic drugs with their generic names:
- Tylenol with codeine (Tylenol #3, Tylenol #4)(acetametaphen with codeine)
- Darvocet (Propoxyphene and acetaminophen)
- Duragesic (fentanyl patch)
- Morphine (Avinza, Kadian, Oramorph SR, Rescudose, Roxanol, Roxanol 100)
- MS Contin
- Oxycontin (Oxycodone)
- Demerol (meperidine)
- Vicoden (hydrocodone, Dolorex Forte, Hycet, Liquicet, Lorcet Plus, Lortab, Lortab Elixir, Maxidone, Norco, Stagesic, Vicodin, Vicodin ES, Vicodin HP, Xodol, Zydone )
- Darvon (Propoxyphene)
- Dilaudid (hydromorphone hydrochloride)
- Lortab (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen)
- Percocet (Oxycodone and acetametaphen)
- Percodan (oxycodone with aspirin)
Known Effects of Narcotics on the Immune System:
- Suppress the cytotoxic activity of natural killer cells
- Enhance the growth of implanted tumors
- Depress T-Lymphocyte responsiveness to stimulation
- Abate delayed hypersensitive skin response
- Cause spleen atrophy
- Cause thymus gland atrophy
- Decrease T-Lymphocyte numbers
- Decrease T-cell function
- Inhibit B-cell activity
- Decrease levels of interferon
- Increase incidence of infections
- Depress the function of all cells of the immune system
What does medical literature say?
The Journal of Neuroimmunology, 85:36-44, 1998, in an article form T.K. Eisenstein and M.E. Hilburger from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Temple University School of Medicine, stated plainly, “In aggregate, the literature supports the existence of in vivo neural-immune circuit through which morphine acts to depress the function of all cells of the immune system.” In other words, taking the medical literature as a whole, narcotics suppress every cell of the immune system.
How does this affect you?
The body needs an intact immune system to heal. Inflammation only occurs if there is an immune reaction. If complete healing is to take place, use of narcotics must be stopped. Often people who are in chronic pain have become narcotic-dependent. It is not absolutely necessary to be off of narcotics to begin Prolotherapy, though this is preferred, but there must be a willingness to get off of them. The person unwilling to do this has little hope of curing the chronic pain.
How do I get off of narcotics?
The narcotic dose is typically weaned by 5 to 10mg/week, until the patient is completely off of narcotics. It is always helpful for the patient to also undergo Hauser Diet Typing and hormonal assessments to enhance the immune function. By using this approach, we have had success, even with heroin addicts, of not only curing the chronic pain, but also curing the addiction.
I want to reiterate the key line in the above article:
“In aggregate, the literature supports the existence of in vivo neural-immune circuit through which morphine acts to depress the function of all cells of the immune system.”
Let’s look at a person’s pain from its simplest, most elementary point:
- Pain typically indicates that some structure is weakened and/or damaged.
- A person’s immune system is responsible for repairing this damage.
- If the person’s immune system will not heal it completely, Prolotherapy will stimulate the body’s repair mechanisms into action.
- Either way, the person’s immune system is a key factor in the repair process.
- Taking narcotic medications inhibits the body’s immune system from repairing the damage both on its own and that which is stimulated with Prolotherapy.
I know the above statements are generalities, but these generalities are typically true. The bottom line is that in order for a person suffering from chronic pain who also takes narcotics to get better, the narcotics have to go!!! It is crucial for a person on narcotics to get off of them as soon as possible to have a chance at eliminating their pain with Prolotherapy or other therapies.
You cannot get a realistic read on your chronic pain if you are on narcotics!
While I explain the above scenario to people on narcotics, they often do not get it. Let me explain it this way. Your friends encourage you to see “the best movie of all time.” They rave about the movie. You and a good friend decide to see it on a Friday night. Unfortunately, you have “the week from hell.” By the time Friday night rolls around, all you want to do is go to bed. You are exhausted. You and your friend see the movie. During the movie you nod off and miss almost half the movie. The movie in your opinion was a dud. “Are you kidding?” you are thinking to yourself. “This movie was awful.” Afterwards your friend explains how he was totally moved by the movie and you even saw him weeping at the end of it. Bottom line was that your impression of the movie was altered by your body/mind/will/emotions just being completely exhausted by the week you had experienced. Your perception of the movie was off. You perceived it as boring and dull, when in fact, it was emotionally charged and awesome!
When people are on narcotics, they cannot get a realistic read on their pain! In other words, if a person is taking regular narcotic medication (taking narcotic medication every day, even one dose/day), he/she has an exaggerated pain response. This means that even if the pain is significantly better, the perception is that it is still awful. It is only when narcotics have been discontinued for awhile will the pain perception return to accuracy. The time frame differs for everyone, but often takes a few months.
Narcotics, in essence, weaken the body so much that they act much like “the week from hell” did in the above example. People who are on narcotics just simply age much more quickly than those not on narcotics. Remember, narcotics depress the function of all cells of the immune system. What other classification of medications does this? You know the answer! Chemotherapy drugs! Basically chemotherapy drugs inhibit the function of all cells of the immune system, just like narcotic medications!
Let me ask you this, would you expect someone taking chemotherapy medication to be extremely healthy or unhealthy? Put another way, would you expect someone taking chemotherapy medication to be in a healing state or a degenerative state? Would you expect their immune system to be strong or weak? Would you expect their hormonal system to be vibrant or tired? I hope you get my point! Much like the person who is exhausted from “a week from hell” or the person taking chemotherapy, the individual on chronic narcotics just isn’t in a state physically or mentally to heal. They do not have an accurate read on their pain. Likewise, their bodies are in a weakened state so the structures causing the pain continue to degenerate.
What exactly do I mean by, “You cannot get a realistic read on your pain if you are on narcotics?” I mean that your actual pain level (based upon the amount of injury/degeneration) may be a 2 on a scale of 0 to 10 but you perceive it as a 9 or 10! To perceive it as a 2 you need to be off of narcotics.
Get off narcotics before starting Prolotherapy!
It is best to get off narcotics before starting Prolotherapy. This will give your body the best chance to heal. In other words, it will optimize the chances of getting pain relief with even the first Prolotherapy treatment.
So for the person on narcotics who wants to get Prolotherapy at Caring Medical here are your options:
- Get off of the narcotics yourself.
- Get off of the narcotics with the help of the doctor who prescribed them.
- Have Dr. Hauser/Caring Medical help you get off of them.
In regards to number 3, it can be done as simply as decreasing your dose by one pain pill every 5-7 days to going through our whole comprehensive Hauser Diet program.
If it were me on narcotics and I was convinced in my deepest being (heart, mind, body, soul) that Prolotherapy was my last possible hope, then I would go through the whole Hauser Diet program to get my body as healthy as it could be while I weaned off of narcotics.
Natural Medicine Program for total body healing: What this means is that you would have an initial appointment at Caring Medical to get evaluated for Prolotherapy and the Hauser Diet program. So come to the office fasting (don’t eat for 12 hours, but drinking water is okay). I (Dr. Hauser) will evaluate you to make sure are a good Prolotherapy candidate. What this would mean is do you have damage/injury to structures that are causing your pain and will those structures respond to Prolotherapy (assuming you have a good healing ability). Then you would go through the whole comprehensive Hauser Diet Program. Some of the things that you would be tested for include:
- Proper Hauser Diet Type
- Blood Hormone Levels
- Clotting Ability
- Markers of Systemic Inflammation
- Food Allergies
The goal of the natural medicine part of the program is to change your physiology from catabolic (degenerative) to anabolic (reparative). Typically, the way to do this is first and foremost to eat according to your Hauser Diet Type and to eliminate food allergens from your diet. If your hormone levels are suboptimal, we would enhance these levels with natural hormone therapy. It is also optimal to start a vitamin and supplement program that aids healing. Of course, medications that inhibit healing like narcotics and anti-inflammatories will be eliminated and replaced with such medications as sleep aids, muscle relaxants, and other pain medications (like Ultram (tramadol), Tylenol) as needed.
Once off of narcotics and anti-inflammatories, Prolotherapy is started. The goal of therapy is obviously not only the elimination of pain, but also the restoration of activity levels! So at some point, an exercise program will be started. We want you not only narcotic and anti-inflammatory-free, but pain medication-free. We not only want you pain-free, but we want your activity levels restored. We want you doing all the exercises and sports that you love to do. This is why people at least want to “try” Prolotherapy. But we don’t want people just “trying” Prolotherapy, we want Prolotherapy to be successful. This will definitely be maximized by getting off of narcotics!
How long will it take? Exactly how many Prolotherapy treatments required or the length of the weaning process from narcotics is different in every case. We want to reassure you that we are used to extremely, extremely difficult cases. Even if you have a spinal cord stimulator or a morphine pump, guess what the goal of treatment will be? You guessed it! Getting that spinal cord stimulator and morphine pump out of you! I know this is a lot to ask or it may not seem possible, but if it is your prayer to be pain free and if you feel led to get Prolotherapy at Caring Medical, we are here to help. It may not be easy, but by getting your body in the healing mode and having it feel better just by that (along with getting a good night’s sleep and eating properly) this will help you have the strength to wean off of narcotics.
If you want to get off of narcotics and start a pain-free life, give us a call at 708-848-7789. We’re ready to help you!
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