At the end of the last century, it was believed that narcotics were the only answer for chronic pain and as such, patients with pain conditions were prescribed higher and higher doses at each visit.
There was also a misconception that patients who were genuinely experiencing pain could not become dependent or addicted to narcotics.
The result of this incorrect belief and decades of over-prescription has led to an entire group of patients who have become dependent on narcotic medications.
Dr. Martinez recognizes that previous generations of pain medicine physicians believed that these “legacy” patients could be successfully maintained on opioids long term; however, studies have found that patients only received 30% relief with narcotics over the long term.
Additionally, most studies showed that at one year, patients received the same amount of pain reduction if they used anti-inflammatories as narcotics. Those receiving narcotics, however, had a much higher incidence of adverse events and complications.
Current literature endorses a multimodal approach to pain management with reliance on opioids or narcotics primarily for short term acute pain or post-operative pain control.
Dr. Martinez fully endorses these modern ideas and uses a variety of techniques to alleviate pain. He does not consider himself simply a “pain medicine doctor,” whose main role is to write prescriptions. Instead, he considers himself a “spine, mobility and wellness doctor” whose goal is to work together with patients to create a cohesive multimodal plan.
And if necessary, he will utilize these techniques to taper legacy patients off of narcotics. This may include adjuvant medications, psychotherapy, physical therapy, surgical consultation or ketamine infusions.
Ultimately, the goal is to address each patient’s pain over the long term and find solutions that work to better their quality of life.