The over-prescription of opioid painkillers such as Hydrocodone and OxyContin is one of the main causes of the current addiction epidemic in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 50 percent of all opioid-related overdose deaths in the US involve a prescription painkiller and almost two million people in this country abuse or are dependent on prescription opioids.
Unfortunately, people have legitimate pain issues that can lead to a substance use disorder. As many as 25 percent of people who receive prescription painkillers in a physician’s office or hospital are struggling with addiction. The CDC has recently released guidelines aimed at reducing the misuse of opioid pain medications. Here are ten ways that various experts recommend managing pain without the use of opioids.
1. Biofeedback. Biofeedback is a treatment or exercise that allows a patient to learn to consciously control his or her heart rate and response to stimuli on a screen. It is useful for pain management because it can teach patients to bring their own pain levels under control.
2. Chiropractic Care. Chiropractic care is now an accepted form of treatment for chronic low back pain, neck pain, and headaches. A chiropractor manipulates the spine to help the body function properly and may also order physical therapy and massage treatment.
3. Eastern Medicine. Also referred to as Chinese medicine, this is a term that encompasses both herbal treatments as well as acupressure and acupuncture. Acupuncture, in particular, has been used for the relief of pain in the shoulder, low back, neck, and knees.
4. Hypnosis. When patients undergo hypnosis, they receive suggestions that help them respond differently to sensations and feelings in their body. A patient can learn to use relaxation and other techniques to reduce anxiety, which can also result in lower levels of pain.
5. Cold and Heat. Cold and heat are accepted as effective therapies against chronic pain in various parts of the body. Cold helps reduce inflammation and heat can alleviate spasms in muscles.
6. Meditation. One method of reducing pain is incorporating various relaxation exercises into everyday life. This includes learning to breathe to lower blood pressure and practicing meditation techniques. Meditation can help reduce the “fight-or-flight” response to pain, and there are even smartphone apps that act as simple guides.
7. Massage. Massage therapy is another effective way to provide relief from chronic pain. Most massage therapists will provide massage to the affected area as well as the whole body with the goal to relieve muscle pain as well as improve circulation.
8. Medication. Just because you are avoiding opioid painkillers, that does not mean that you cannot take any medications for chronic pain. Among the medicines that the CDC recommends for pain relief are:
- Analgesics such as Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen
- Topical agents
9. TENS. A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) produces electrical stimulation in the affected area, which has been shown to reduce pain related to musculoskeletal conditions.
10. Yoga and Tai Chi. Exercise can be an excellent way to build up the muscles around damaged tissue and vertebrae. Among the best forms of exercise are those that use slow and smooth movements such as yoga and Tai Chi. These are both guided programs that also focus on breathing and relaxation techniques.
Learn About Addiction Recovery Options for Opioid Use Disorder
For some chronic pain suffers, addiction to opioid pain medication is already a reality. Living with an opioid use disorder can be frightening and disheartening, but there is a way out as well as effective non-opioid treatment for your pain issues. Contact The Recovery Village now to learn more about how our comprehensive addiction recovery program can help you break free from opioid addiction and find a new way to live.