HealthTwo Sides of the Same Coin: How Addiction and Pain Can Be...

Two Sides of the Same Coin: How Addiction and Pain Can Be Connected

When most of us think about pain relief, we think of physical pain. We might take over-the-counter medication or see a doctor for something more serious. But the pain comes in many forms. Emotional pain, for example, can be just as debilitating as physical pain. 

And there are common threads between people seeking relief from both types of pain. 

Types of Pain Explained

According to studies, there are three main types of pain: nociceptive, neuropathic, and psychogenic. Nociceptive pain is the result of tissue damage and is what most of us think of when we think of “pain.” It’s the kind of pain you feel when you stub your toe or get a paper cut. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nervous system and can be either chronic or acute. It’s the kind of pain you might feel after surgery or an injury. And psychogenic pain is mental or emotional in nature and can be triggered by stress, anxiety, or depression.

All three types of pain share one common thread: they’re all signals that something is wrong. 

Established osteopaths from Blackwood Osteopathy who work often with people suffering from physical pain will tell you that pain is a protective mechanism. And it’s the body’s way of telling us that something isn’t right. That’s why people seeking relief from any type of pain often have similar goals: to find out what’s causing the pain and to fix it.

Of course, there are also some major differences between people seeking relief from physical and emotional pain. Physical pain is often more easily diagnosed and treated than emotional pain. And while there are risks associated with treating physical pain—side effects from medications, for example—those risks are usually well worth it because the benefits usually outweigh them. 

Emotional pain, on the other hand, is often harder to diagnose and treat because it’s not always clear what’s causing it. And while there are some risks associated with treating emotional pain—the potential for developing an addiction, for example—those risks might not be worth it for some people because the benefits aren’t always as clear. 

The Connection Between Emotional Pain and Substance Abuse

There is a strong connection between emotional pain and substance abuse. Many people who struggle with addiction are choosing to go down the road of medication. Newer medication approach like Baclofen has been found successful in treating addiction to alcohol. Though some people are self-medicating in an attempt to numb their emotional pain. This can be difficult to understand for those who have never struggled with addiction, but it is important to remember that addiction is a disease. Just like any other disease, it requires treatment.

One of the most common threads between people seeking sobriety and people seeking pain relief is the fact that they are both looking for a way to cope with their emotions. For many people, substance abuse is a way to escape from the pain they are feeling. In sobriety, however, they are learning to deal with their emotions healthily. They are learning how to cope with their pain without turning to drugs or alcohol.

People Who are in Pain Sometimes Seek Relief Through Drugs or Alcohol

Anyone who has ever experienced pain knows that it can be debilitating. Chronic pain can make it difficult to concentrate, work, and even sleep. As a result, some people who are in pain turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to find relief

While these substances may provide temporary respite from pain, they also come with a host of risks and dangers. Drug and alcohol addiction can lead to financial ruin, job loss, and relationship problems. Additionally, these substances can worsen the underlying condition that is causing the pain. For instance, alcohol can exacerbate inflammation, making arthritis pain worse. As such, it is important for people who are in pain to seek out safe and effective treatment options. 

But There’s Also a Commonality Between Physical Pain and Sobriety

One of the most common threads between people seeking pain relief and sobriety is the need for control. When someone is struggling with addiction, they often feel out of control of their own life. This can be extremely frustrating and overwhelming. To regain a sense of control, many people turn to substances. 

Similarly, chronic pain can also leave sufferers feeling out of control. Living with chronic pain can be incredibly unpredictable; you never know when a flare-up is going to hit or how long it’s going to last. This can make it difficult to make plans or commit to anything. Because of that, many people who live with chronic pain also struggle with anxiety and depression. 

Another common thread between people seeking pain relief and sobriety is the importance of self-care. When you’re in recovery from addiction, one of the most important things you can do is take care of yourself. This means eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and staying hydrated.

Self-care is also important for people living with chronic pain. Because chronic pain can be unpredictable and often debilitating, it’s important to have a solid self-care routine in place. This might include things like regular massages, acupuncture, yoga, or meditation. Even management of their surroundings for safety plays a big part in maintaining self-care. It can be from something as small as keeping sharp objects away to maintaining high-quality, beautiful carpets that feel amazing under the foot.


There are many similarities between people who are struggling with addiction and people who are in pain. Both groups of people are seeking relief from their emotional pain. Both groups of people may turn to substances in an attempt to find relief. And both groups of people need to take care of themselves. However, there are also many differences between these two groups of people. Addiction is a disease that requires treatment, while pain is often a symptom of an underlying condition. Additionally, chronic pain can be unpredictable and debilitating, while sobriety is a choice that requires commitment and hard work. Despite these differences, the commonalities between these two groups show that understanding and compassion are needed for both.

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