Frequently Asked Questions
FSIPP’s primary focus is to serve the dedicated pain physicians and their teams that diagnose and treat pain patients. These resources are designed to help pain care providers provide their patients with helpful information and tools to help them learn about pain, locate an FSIPP member pain physician in their area, and connect with organizations that directly serve pain patients in the State of Florida.
I don’t understand why my doctor is asking me to take a new medicine. How can I find out more about what it is for and ways it might effect me?
A MPP offers a variety of skills taught by trained staff to help a person better manage his or her pain. These programs may not offer a cure, but they can help to improve the quality of life and at the same time reduce the overwhelming control that pain can have of daily life.
Most chronic pain conditions have an organization that is designed to provide specific information about cause, treatment, and research. The Resources section of this site can link you to many of them.
This question is often asked by people who have been told that they will have to learn to live with their pain. At times, it is difficult to pin down a specific physical cause for the pain. But that does not lessen the suffering. When we experience any pain, it is in both our bodies and minds. We cannot separate the physical and psychological affects any situation has on us.
I’ve been told that there is a difference between physical dependence and addiction to pain medications, but I don’t understand. Can you explain the difference to me?
It’s very common for people to be confused about the difference between physical dependence and addiction. The main difference is that addiction includes a psychological (or mental) craving for the medication that can lead to self-destructive behavior. Physical dependence only means that your body needs the medication and you have symptoms when you do not take it. People become physically dependent on many kinds of medicines, including insulin, antidepressants, and others. It is a normal part of using some medications.
When you use a pain medication, after a while your body becomes used to having that chemical on a regular basis. Your body needs that medication to function normally. If you stop taking it or lower the dose, your body reacts badly, with physical withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nausea, shakes, and other more serious problems. This is physical dependence, and it is not at all the same as addiction.
Addiction is a psychological problem that causes people to lose control over their use of a medication. People with this problem sometimes think the drug is the most important thing in their lives. They might raise their dosage or continue using the medication without their doctors’ permission, or seek other sources of medication that their doctors don’t know about. They take the medication even when they know it is not good for them, and they might do risky and irresponsible things to get the medication.
Depending on the type of medication you use, physical dependence might be unavoidable. Talk to your health care professional if you are concerned about dependence or if you feel you might need to increase or decrease your dosage.
Addiction is avoidable. If you think that you might be taking a pain medication that you do not need for pain, talk to your doctor about safely reducing the dose. Also, if you become preoccupied with the medication, thinking about how soon you can take more or worrying excessively that you might run out, that can be a warning sign to talk to a health care professional about changing your treatment.