Q: My sister’s doctor has told her it’s OK to take Vicodin daily for her chronic back pain. Am I right to be concerned about this course of treatment?
A: I once heard one of my colleagues describe the situation of someone suffering from chronic pain as equally stressful on the body as running a marathon every single day of your life. I sympathize for your sister and her predicament.
Without knowing more details (what regimens have been tried previously, what is the cause of the pain, etc), it’s difficult to say whether Vicodin is the best choice for your sister.
Vicodin is a powerful narcotic painkiller that in its oral form is 1.5 times more potent than morphine and can be a very valuable tool in helping to manage chronic pain.
The one thing I would encourage is that your sister approach her pain in a holistic manner, using exercise as well as spending some time to make certain that her mental outlook stays positive, both of which are proven therapies for the management of chronic pain.
Use the medication as a supplement and not a sole source of pain relief.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.