Rx Task Force promote non-opioid treatment options for pain management | SteamboatToday.com

Rx Task Force promote non-opioid treatment options for pain management

Janne Siegel
For the Steamboat Pilot & Today

Editors Note: This content is sponsored by  Yampa Valley Tires Pros & Express Lube, Four Star Auto Repair and Fox Construction

The Health Partnership is providing tools for parents, caregivers and young adults to advocate for more options and fewer prescriptions.

Mara Rhodes knows first-hand how lonely and devastating severe addiction can be — she watched her brother, Mark McManus, suffer from an addiction that cost him his life at age 33.

Rhodes — the community prevention coordinator for The Health Partnership, co-founder of the Rx Task Force and founder of the Mark McManus Foundation — said prevention of addiction starts with doctor-patient advocacy and teaching the patient, family member or caregiver about effective non-opioid options available to treat pain. Some of the options include physical therapy, counseling, injections, manual therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, and chiropractic care.  However, Rhodes acknowledges there can be financial barriers preventing some patients from exploring those options.

“It can be financially prohibitive for some to get into therapy. They may not be able to afford it," Rhodes said. "The system is broken, so we are trying to find ways to shift it to incorporate some of these cultural shifts into our healthcare world."

More PT, less Rx

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To assist in that effort, the McManus Foundation, in conjunction with the Health Partnership and Task Force, created the More PT-Less Rx program that assists those patients who are financially struggling and currently taking opioids but want to try other options to manage their pain.

In addition, Rhodes said the program pamphlet is distributed to physicians' offices as a way to initiate a conversation between physician and patient about other ways to approach treatment with less pain medication.

Community support

Rhodes said when she first started the Rx Task Force it was a community organization consisting primarily of healthcare members. It has now grown to incorporate other sectors of the community.

“Many business owners are taking the work of the Task Force and implementing in their own businesses," she said. "The Task Force meets every six weeks to talk about just how to bring the message and education to the nonprofits and for profits. Yampa Valley Tire Pros is a perfect example."

Jeremy Behling, owner of Yampa Valley Tire Pros & Express Lube and Four-Star Auto Repair along with his wife Sarah Fox, owner of Fox Construction, share Rhodes passion about addiction education. Behling experienced first-hand the dangers of prescription drugs. Following a serious injury during his senior year in college, physicians gave Behling a prescription for narcotics. Behling said he was unaware of how addictive they could have been.

"Right there in that bottle could have been a life-changing addiction. As a college athlete I was lucky. I had coaches and trainers who helped me find alternative ways to recover and manage my pain Just knowing that there are other ways to heal and manage pain – massage, physical therapy, that don’t require a narcotic is a very important thing for our community to understand,” Behling said.

"For Sarah and I, helping to give our community a clear understanding of when narcotics should be used and then, more importantly that many alternatives exist to manage injury recovery and the associated pain is critical to changing the trend our nation is experiencing with this narcotic epidemic," he continued.

Community education

Rhodes believes educating the community, specifically those between the ages of 20 to 40, will lead to fewer addictions and ultimately to a healthier community. That education should include tools for recognizing addiction and tools to help those who may be struggling.

"To reach that 20- to- 40-year-old demographic, The Health Partnership is hosting a film premiere, produced by Teton Gravity Research about a professional athlete who struggled with mental illness and substance use disorder, playing Sept. 27 and Oct. 11 at the Chief Theatre in Steamboat Springs," Rhodes said.  "It is the story about Andy Irons, a three-time world champion surfer who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and silently struggled with an opioid addiction which ultimately caused his death.”

Rhodes acknowledges that while addiction is a dark topic and may be difficult to discuss, the importance of having those uncomfortable discussions could be the difference between life and death.

For more information please visit http://www.nccchealthpartnership.org, or call 970-846- 6311.

OTHER TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR PAIN

Taking a prescription opioid comes with side effects and even consequences. Other options are available. Talk with your healthcare provider to learn more.

  • Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is another common and effective pain reliever.
  • Ibuprophen, the active ingredient in Advil, is the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used for treating pain, fever and inflammation.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs):More potent than acetaminophen, available over-the counter include anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Aleve.
  • Physical Therapy: Often essential to improving physical healing and relieving pain long-term.
  • Massage, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care: Reports suggest these methods are just as effective, if not more effective, than medications.
  • Exercise, Yoga and Tai Chi: Research has shown exercise is especially important for those with chronic pain. Low-impact exercise helps improve mobility and functionality. Studies have shown that chronic back pain, joint pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia can all be improved with many manual therapy treatments.
  • Injections: Arthritis, injuries, muscle pain, and headaches are among the kinds of pain treatable with injections. Types include nerve, trigger point, radiofrequency, and epidural injections.
  • Source: cdc.gov/vitalsigns/opioid-prescribing; http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids

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