pain management

5 Ways to Manage Pain Without Opioids

Pain is something we all deal with from time to time. Pain may be caused by illness, injury, surgery, and a variety of other factors. Left untreated, pain can have a negative impact on your overall quality of life and possibly lead to other complications. Effective treatment is the key to adequate pain relief.  

Chronic pain in particular can have a huge effect on a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Chronic pain is when pain becomes long-term, usually lasting for longer than 12 weeks. 

Complications that can arise from chronic pain include depression, weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, hormonal changes, and more. Without proper pain management, a person falls risk to all these complications. We at Addiction Treatment Services care about the whole person, that is why we care about the mind and body, as well as the symptoms. 

There are many options when it comes to pain management. The tricky part is that what works well for one person may not work well for someone else. Unfortunately for this reason, opioids can quickly lead to abuse, and eventually, an addiction may form. 

This is not to say that addiction is always the case. When opioids are used appropriately as prescribed by a medical professional, they can be an important and beneficial component of treatment. 

Serious risks remain however, and for this reason, an individual should always consider the risks of using opioids alongside their benefits. One should also consider the other ways that pain can be managed. 

So, what are some other ways pain can be managed? 

1. Exercise 

Getting some exercise is one example of a simple way to deal with pain without using opioids. While some people cannot imagine exercising through their pain, there are definitely ways it can be done. 

The best way is to exercise through your pain is with the guidance of a physical therapist. A physical therapist is an expert in the area of dealing with chronic pain. It may be a slower path that requires more patience, but the results are well worth it. Physical therapy can help you regain strength and become more active for better overall health. 

Exercise also releases a natural pain reliever in the brain called endorphins, which are hormones responsible for producing a positive feeling. Other exercises that may help with pain include swimming, walking, yoga, and biking. 

2. Acupuncture 

Acupuncture is a form of therapy that involves thin needles being inserted into the skin. While this may sound counterintuitive and quite painful in itself, many people report pain relief after undergoing acupuncture. 

The way this form of therapy works is by stimulating certain points within the body that are believed to be responsible for certain pathways of pain. It is said that acupuncture disrupts the flow of these pathways, thereby blocking the pathway of pain. 

Many people regard acupuncture as just a false form of treatment made popular by people who believe in exotic treatments, however it is actually approved by the FDA to be used as a medical device. 

3. Injections and Nerve Blocks 

Some people turn to receiving injections to manage pain. These injections work by blocking pain receptor sites which results in a decreased sensation of pain. This form of therapy is temporary and works best in cases of acute pain. However, it can be beneficial for people dealing with chronic pain if they use it in conjunction with other forms of therapy. 

Nerve blocking injections are most commonly used in people dealing with joint pain or peripheral nerve issues, and it’s usually only considered when other forms of treatment have not worked. The location in which you receive the injection depends on the site of your pain. If you feel immediate pain relief, the treatment is usually considered successful. 

4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that addresses the psychological patterns that contribute to pain. CBT is done with a licensed professional therapist, and has been proven to be very beneficial to patients dealing chronic pain. 

In this form of therapy, the therapist helps the individual identify certain patterns and thought processes that may be exacerbating their physical symptoms. Some of these thought patterns may include avoidance, fear, anxiety, anger, and other forms of distress. 

During CBT, you will be trained on how to deal with these negative thought patterns by learning new behavioral techniques to employ instead, which should lead to more positive thinking patterns and decreased stress, thus, decreased pain.  

5. Non-Opioid Medication Options 

There are many medications available to help treat pain that do not fall under the opioid category. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs act within the body to help with pain and inflammation. Inflammation occurs with many chronic pain issues, especially issues of the joints. 

Corticosteroids are a class of medication that also have an effect on inflammation and are given to many people who have arthritis. Acetaminophen is another drug you can get over the counter that helps with pain, but not inflammation. 

Ask your provider about non-opioid medication options. While you can get many of these drugs over the counter, it’s always best to consult with your provider before starting any new medications. 

Take Control of Your Life 

Opioids can be a very beneficial part of treatment for pain. However, it is far too easy to become dependent on opioids, which can lead to a full blown addiction. 

The thing is, there is no limit to how much you can increase the dose of opioids. Unlike non-opioid drugs, you can keep increasing the dose of opioids once you start to become tolerant of the current dose’s effects. This quickly turns into a slippery slope that can easily lead to addiction. The consequences are extremely harmful and can even be fatal. 

If you’re dealing with chronic pain, talk with your provider about your concerns regarding the risks of opioids. There are many other options available and your doctor can help you find the best fit for you.  

We at Addiction Treatment Services want you to know that we are here to help you, whether you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction. Our team of highly qualified professionals care about you and your success in sobriety. Reach out to us today at our 24 hour hotline by calling (855) 247-4046.