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For those considering a hip replacement or knee replacement, pain is an unfortunate reality that often becomes the driver for scheduling joint replacement surgery. However, the road that stretches from joint discomfort all the way to “I can’t take it anymore” pre-surgery pain is long and complicated. Throughout this journey, you’ll likely try various treatments to keep pain from rearing its ugly head. However, not all pain treatments are created equal. Some doctor-prescribed pain medications, while they may temporarily close the door on pain, can open up a door you never expected: addiction.

We’ve all seen news headlines like “America’s Addiction to Opioids”, “Painkillers Kill” or most recently, “Prince’s Death Was Caused by Opioid Overdose”. Upon reading these headlines or even after diving into the story, it’s hard for many of us to imagine how out-of-control prescription med use (or should we say, abuse) can happen. Even more specifically, it may seem like a leap to link joint pain to a prescription pain medication addiction. Unfortunately, as reported in the media and the public healthcare industry alike, it's not a stretch.

Take for instance, the recent untimely death of Prince. Unlike Prince himself, his path toward addiction was unremarkable. Like many people living with joint pain, Prince (allegedly) began taking opioid prescription painkillers to combat his chronic hip pain. For religious reasons, Prince was unwilling to undergo the double hip replacement that would have likely resolved his pain for the long-term. Prince was left with one option- ongoing use of narcotics, which carries with it the slippery slope of tolerance building and physical dependency.

The full version of this article is available PeerWell--a PreHab app that helps you prepare for and recover faster from joint replacement surgery.