Mom and Dad may reach for a prescription opioid when dealing with pain, but Junior is more likely to try a more natural and healthy approach, says a new study by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) that asked 1,011 adults from ages 18 to 92 about how they deal with pain management.
A large portion of Millennials who took part in the survey said that they were dealing with chronic pain. The more stationary lifestyle among young adults is leading to chronic pain being a real issue. Desk jobs, gaming and sporting injuries are the leading cause of pain among adults aged 18-35.
Most young adults stated that they were trying lifestyle changes instead of taking prescription opioid medication to manage the pain. Losing weight, giving up cigarettes, exercising and healthy diets are some of the ways that these adults were using as part of their pain management plan.
ASA president Dr. Jeffery Plagenhoef said it is encouraging that young adults are seeking healthier ways of managing pain, but there is a real need for more education about addiction when it comes to opioids and chronic pain.
Plagenhoef suggests a few things to reduce your risk for chronic pain:
Put down digital devices more often to prevent chronic pain. Hours of gaming, checking your smartphone or working on the computer can lead to tight muscles, so unplug often and move around.
Take plenty of breaks at work or while studying to move around and stretch. Your boss would rather have you walking around a minute or two every hour than calling into work because of pain.
Exercise is important but if you are a weekend warrior, warm up before hitting the courts. The best approach to exercise is to set aside at least a half hour a day to be active. If you live close to work walk or bike. Going to the gym three or four times a week to exercise or taking your dog on long walks are good first steps in adding exercise to your life. These activities also are a good way to reduce stress which has been proven to work in pain management treatment.
The bad news is that this age group is also more likely to bypass the doctor when they do take opioid pain medication. One in 10 says that they had or knew someone who had taken a family member’s prescribed drug.
Millennials are also the group most likely to take opioids, both prescription and illegal, for recreational use. In the United States, one out of every 12 deaths from those aged 18-35 is heroin-related, the leading drug in the opioid overdose epidemic that has been hitting North America during the past decade.
Many young adults don’t know how to dispose of unused opioid prescriptions the right way. The safe way to get rid of extra pills is to hand them over to opioid collection centers at police stations, hospital pharmacies and drug stores.
When it comes to pain management more young adults are opting for healthy lifestyle changes to reduce pain instead of turning to opioid prescriptions. More work needs to be geared to Millennials in order to educate about the dangers of taking opioid medications without going to their doctor and how to dispose of leftover pills.