More than 36 million Americans are battling opiate addiction, many of whom were introduced to opiate painkillers after experiencing acute or chronic pain. The opiate crisis is officially a National State of Emergency—but what art the non-opiate options for treating pain in order to prevent substance abuse and addiction issues.
In order to manage chronic pain without opiates, patients need to employ a multi-faceted approach, leveraging the power of such lifestyle changes as physical therapy and mind-body techniques. Coupled with non-opioid medications, its possible for people to effectively address their chronic pain and live normal, enjoyable lives.
NON-OPIOID MEDICATIONS FOR CHRONIC PAIN
There are many options for non-narcotic pain relievers—both over-the-counter and prescribed—to help patients manage both acute and chronic pain. Some of the most effective options include:
Acetaminophen: Also known as Tylenol, acetaminophen is a pain reliever. It does not offer anti-inflammatory benefits, and thus stomach pain is not a common side effect. However, acetaminophen can cause liver damage—especially in those who drink alcohol regularly.
Anti-inflammatory medications: Popular anti-inflammatory medications include Aleve, Advil, Motrin, Lodine, Indocin and Celebrex. These medications help reduce pain by minimize swelling and inflammation.
Prescription painkillers: Some non-narcotic prescription medications that are generally effective for neuropathic pain include Neurontin and Lyrica. However, even those these medications are not physically addicting, they can be abused and put a patient at risk for psychological addiction. Be cautious with this family of drugs.
Topical pain relievers: Some creams and ointments can be applied directly to the skin and used together with other medications or physical therapies.
Corticosteroid injections: These injections are used most often to relieve pain and minimize swelling caused by herniated discs, arthritis, and sciatica, etc. Many patients find that 1-3 injections can effectively cure their joint or spine pain.
Ketamine: Ketamine for chronic pain management is highly effective, especially for such conditions as CRPS, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, neuropathic pain, Lyme disease, and more. Ketamine infusions are administered via IV at a ketamine clinic—ketamine is not generally prescribed as a take-home medication, and is not nearly as effective when prescribed sublingually or orally.
PAIN MANAGEMENT THERAPIES
Physical therapy: Physical therapy is very effective and can dramatically improve a patient’s range of movement and mobility. Your physical therapist will “prescribe” a series of targeted exercises to help you strengthen specific muscle groups, improve flexibility and reduce your pain—naturally!
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): Through the use of a mild electrical current that blocks or “reroutes” pain signals, TENS is a popular chronic pain management therapy. Other similar solutions include Iontopherosis, which uses electrical stimulation to drive medications into areas of pain or inflammation, or ultrasound, which uses sound waves to stimulate tissue and encourage healing.
Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a machine-assisted pain management therapy that enables patients to control their body’s response to pain. Leveraging the power of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, biofeedback balances and brings those systems into harmony, thereby reducing the experience of pain.
Chiropractic: This popular practice manipulates the body’s alignment and repairs what’s called a subluxation. Chiropractic care relieves pain while enabling the body to essentially heal itself!
Acupuncture: Acupuncture uses very fine needles on specific meridian points throughout the body to release endorphins—a natural painkilling brain chemical. Many studies have shown acupuncture to be highly beneficial for pain relief and reduction.
Massage: Therapeutic massage reduces pain by soothing inflamed muscles, joints and tendons.
These easy-to-implement yet highly-effective lifestyle changes can reduce the impact of pain in your day-to-day life. Some lifestyle changes for chronic pain management and reduction and ongoing chronic pain management include:
Exercise; Exercises is especially beneficial for those suffering from low back pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia. Easier said than done, it takes heroic effort for many chronic pain sufferers to find the motivation to exercise. There are many highly-effective, low-impact exercise programs for people whose movements are limited by severe pain. Engaging in a regular exercise regimen can drastically reduce long-term pain.
Weight loss; Carrying around excessive weight can turn mild pain into extreme pain. Weight loss can help alleviate everyday pain.
Yoga or Tai Chi; practicing yoga and tai chi is valuable for your mind and body alike. These mind-body practices stretch and strengthen muscles to improve chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, lower back pain, arthritis and migraine headaches.
Almost every hospital in the country promotes the use of mind-body techniques such as meditation & mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises and even hypnosis.
There is no shortage of non-opiate pain management options available—finding the right combination of treatments and therapies to treat your chronic pain is just a matter of exploration and experience. Spreading awareness of these non-opioid pain reduction solutions can help fight the opiate crisis and prevent substance abuse deaths caused by overdose.
CONTACT SPINE INTERVENTION CLINIC
Spine Intervention Clinic in Oregon City offers spinal injections and ketamine infusions for the treatment of chronic pain conditions. We are happy to answer any questions you have about our pain management therapies, and point you in the direction of a pain-free life. Just complete the brief form below and we will contact you to schedule a free consultation!