When it comes to managing pain, opiates are one of the most common treatments. However, with the recent epidemic of opiate addictions, you may be wary about using them.
In addition, although opiates can be effective in the short term, they aren’t actually that good at treating chronic pain. There is also the danger of opiate addiction. For long-term conditions, you might be better off seeking alternative therapies.
Below are 8 alternatives to opiates that can help you manage your pain safely and effectively.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest therapies in the world. It works by using needles and pressure on specific body parts to redirect the body’s natural energy. This type of therapy also increases the body’s endorphin production, which is proven to reduce pain.
Acupuncture works particularly well for chronic pain in the neck and back, head, and knees.
If you’re looking for something more familiar that is similar to acupuncture, massage may be a good option.
Massage can relieve pain by relaxing tendons and muscles and relieving stress and anxiety. Some studies also suggest that massage can stimulate the nerves in a way that blocks your body from sending pain signals to the brain.
3. Chiropractic care
Chiropractic care is another option that is particularly helpful for pain in the neck, back, and head. It also provides great results for shoulder problems, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
Chiropractic treatment works by manipulating the spine and other areas to optimize the body’s alignment. This can relieve pressure and pain and improve the body’s ability to heal itself.
4. Physical therapy
The major benefit of using physical therapy is that you’ll work with professionals who are trained to target the sources of your pain. This will give you longer-lasting relief.
Physical therapy works by using a combination of strengthening exercises, aerobic exercise, stretching, and massage to improve the overall function of the part of your body that is causing you pain. By getting your body at its peak functioning, you will see your pain diminish.
5. Cognitive behavioral therapy
This may seem like an odd therapy to include on a list of pain-management techniques, but anyone who has endured chronic pain will tell you that the pain is emotional as well as physical. Living with chronic pain often leads to depression and problematic behaviors.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you find strategies to deal with the mental toll that your chronic pain have. You’ll learn to identify problematic thoughts such as catastrophizing and develop healthy coping strategies. This will allow you to focus less on the pain itself, which will actually make the pain seem less severe.
Biofeedback is one item on this list that may be new to you. This is a unique form of treatment that works by helping you to focus on aspects of your health that you might not normally be aware of, such as your heart rate, breathing, muscle tension, and blood pressure. These stats are monitored and immediately given to you as you experience pain.
The goal of biofeedback is to make you more aware of what is actually going on in your body as you experience pain. Often, your perception of your own pain can be heightened by stress and fear. Biofeedback gives you concrete numbers representing your body’s response to pain, which gives you a way to gauge your pain objectively and alter your response accordingly.
This is a drug that you can easily get over the counter at any pharmacy. You’ve probably taken it for headaches many times throughout your life.
Although you may think that acetaminophen isn’t strong enough for your pain, you might be surprised about how effective it can be. Some recent studies suggest it can actually be more effective at combating pain than prescription opioids.
This may seem like another surprising item to include on this list. However, Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors can help reduce the psychological side effects of pain, making the pain easier to deal with.
In addition, certain antidepressants are actually quite effective at reducing certain types of pain, such as muscular, skeletal, and nerve pain.