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New guidelines published by American College of Physicians to reduce opioid addiction

New guidelines published by American College of Physicians to reduce opioid addiction (MGN)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The medical community is taking yet another step in the fight against opioid addiction.

The American College of Physicians has published new guidelines to help reduce the odds patients will get addicted to pain pills.

Many medical organizations are now getting the message that "you can't become addicted to a medication you don't take." This concept is being put into practice to help curb the opioid addiction.

The next time you are in pain, you might find more suggestions from your doctor to try generic pills, instead of prescription pills to control the pain.

It's just one of the many suggestions now from evidence based guidelines from the American College of Physicians. They now suggest non-drug therapies for pain, even for acute back pain.

Doctor Matthew Grunkemeyer is a fan of the idea. "Big fan, yeah. Breathing, yoga, ice, and different modalities that can help distract you from the pain and get you through that period," he said.

He is an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoCincy and said these guidelines help set patients up for long-term success when it comes to easing pain.

"Obviously with the opioid crisis and epidemic, especially in this Tri-State area, we are very careful about prescription pain pills. They are necessary after a big procedure, but we only give them as long as necessary and get rid of them as soon as possible," Dr. Grunkemeyer said.

This may mean doing a few things differently in recovery including longer physical therapy and learning some of the newer techniques to manage your own pain. But in the end, it could make a big difference.

"I think we want to have a mind of taking care of the whole patient and taking care of the patient for the duration of their whole life," Dr. Grunkemeyer said.

The guidelines suggest to ask your medical team about complementary therapies such as acupuncture or massage. And if medications are needed, use only non-habit forming over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.

Dr. Grunkemeyer said if a stronger prescription medication is needed, it should be used as the exception and not the rule.

He added, "Save that for major surgery, or a big fracture, or something that is just overwhelmingly painful."

One of the reasons guidelines like these are important, is that they pave the way to get reimbursement for some of these complementary therapies.

Many of these you can get for just a co-pay, but others are certainly a more out-of-pocket expense than a prescription medication.

The newer physician guidelines now recommend those pain medication prescriptions only as a last resort.

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