The relation between chronic pain and chronic diarrhea
Chronic pain and chronic diarrhea can be severe problems for the rare group of patients that struggle with both conditions. Chronic pain makes it challenging for many individuals to enjoy their daily activities. Adding diarrhea to the mix makes it even more uncomfortable to enjoy life.
Suppose a GI specialist is working with a patient and is unable to find a solution to the diarrhea, and the patient with chronic pain is taking daily opioids. In that case, the best choice of opioid in this scenario is morphine.
Common reasons for chronic pain and chronic diarrhea
Chronic pain doesn’t always come with diarrhea, but it’s not uncommon for people with chronic diarrhea to also have pain. When someone experiences pain and diarrhea, the discomfort is in the abdominal area. A few common conditions causing pain and diarrhea include:
- Infection- Some people may have a bacterial or viral stomach or bowel infection called gastroenteritis.
- Food sensitivities- People tend to develop new food sensitivities with age, and unknowingly eating food that upsets your body can cause pain and diarrhea.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)- This intestinal disorder causes pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)- This group of conditions includes Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both of which affect the bowel and may damage the digestive tract if left untreated.
What is morphine?
Morphine is a narcotic derived from opium that doctors administer to treat chronic pain. When taken, people often describe a euphoric effect and relief, allowing patients with chronic pain to tolerate their discomfort. Most prescribed morphine comes in an extended-release capsule or tablet to aid in around-the-clock treatment. A few generic brands of morphine include Oramoph ST, Kadian, and Roxanol. Side effects of morphine include drowsiness, stomach pains, dry mouth, headaches, nervousness, mood swings, and constipation.
How does morphine help?
For the average patient with regular bowel movements, taking morphine is problematic. Of all the available opioids, morphine has the highest incidence of constipation, and many people who take morphine for chronic pain experience diarrhea.
However, for patients with diarrhea, Dr. Mocek and Mocek Spine Clinic observe that morphine slows the bowel motility enough to reduce the loose stools patients experience per day, if any at all. The slower bowel movements allow patients to live with less pain and less diarrhea.
It’s essential to understand that patients should not take morphine to treat diarrhea solely but as a pain medication when both chronic pain and diarrhea are present.
Working with Mocek Spine Clinic
In Dr. Mocek’s opinion, after 25 years of experience in proper and responsible pain management, morphine is the best pain relief for clients with daily chronic pain and diarrhea. To learn more about the Mocek Spine Clinic approach to chronic pain and diarrhea, you can make an appointment at our clinic or call us at 501.224.4001.