How to Manage Pain in Recovery

Learning How to Manage Pain in Recovery

Learning how to manage pain in recovery can involve developing strategies that help provide some pain control without the need for consistent opiate painkiller use. Yet statistics show that people recovering from opiate addiction are significantly less likely to receive adequate pain management than the general population.

Yet there are times when a person recovering from opiate addiction may need access to pain medications to treat symptoms effectively. Dealing with acute pain after a surgical procedure or living with chronic pain requires specific pain management strategies.

Chronic Pain and Opiate Addiction

Treating chronic pain doesn’t automatically mean a doctor will prescribe opiate medications. There are pain management options available that use alternative methods. These may include using steroid injections or nerve blocks to help relieve pain

Some doctors may also incorporate or recommend natural or holistic pain management options to help reduce the severity of chronic pain. Natural pain management options can often be helpful for managing chronic pain and opiate addiction without increasing the risk of relapse.

Post Op Pain Management for Recovering Addicts

In the event that a recovering person needs to undergo surgery, the need to manage pain following the surgical procedure needs to be approached carefully. Doctors and surgeons must address the specific needs of post-op pain management for recovering addicts.

When treating post-op patients who have a known addiction to opiate pain medications, doctors strongly advocate the short-term use of opiate medications under careful medical supervision. However, when treating a recovering addict, special consideration needs to be taken to consider additional pain management options

In the short term, careful prescription of opiate painkiller medications may be suitable, especially following a surgical procedure. The dosage may be carefully tapered down as the level of pain subsides and replaced with alternative pain management options.

If the person begins to struggle with managing addiction symptoms after taking short-acting opiate medications, the physician may choose to change the prescription to a longer-acting medication that requires fewer doses throughout the day.

Natural Post-Op Pain Management

Natural post-op pain management options are also suggested for recovering addicts dealing with chronic or acute pain. Learning natural ways how to manage pain in recovery provides free alternatives that the person is able to practice from the comfort of home without the need for continued visits to doctors or therapists.

Acupuncture can provide some respite from chronic pain in many people. The ancient Chinese practice has long been used to reduce inflammation and treat pain with varying results.

Physical therapy may also be appropriate for some post-op patients to help improve muscle strength and tone, but also to help reduce inflammation associated with recovery. As movement and strength improve without exacerbating pain symptoms, patients are encouraged to engage in other forms of physical activity.

Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that uses a range of poses and postures in combination with controlled breathing exercises. Yoga helps improve concentration and promotes relaxation. It also improves flexibility, mobility and core strength, all of which can relieve some symptoms of chronic pain.

Many patients dealing with chronic pain fear physical therapies, believing that exercise will cause pain to flare up and become worse. However, research shows that exercise can improve pain symptoms, elevate mood, reduce symptoms of stress, and relieve symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Research also indicates that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective for helping patients manage symptoms of chronic pain. The objective is to learn how to manage psychological responses to pain in healthy, productive ways that reinforce their own individual role in the health restoration process.

If the patient has already completed a comprehensive drug addiction treatment program, they will already be familiar with many of the principles behind cognitive behavioral therapies. After leaving rehab, the patient may have been given access to a range of aftercare programs, so visiting a behavioral therapist and asking for help how to manage pain in recovery using CBT methods provides a positive way to learn to deal with symptoms at the same time as maintaining sobriety.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.