It’s estimated that 36 million people in the United States struggle with opiate addiction. More than 80% of these addictions started with a prescribed opiate painkiller. With the opioid crisis officially declared a National State of Emergency, it’s important to know what your non-narcotic pain management options are in order to prevent substance abuse and addiction issues for you or your loved ones.
Managing chronic pain without opiates requires a multi-faceted approach, leveraging non-narcotic pain medications, lifestyle changes, physical therapy and mind-body techniques, to name a just a few. Below are some non-opioid options for chronic pain management that can help you avoid opiate use altogether, or provide a long-term pain management solution once you stop or cut back on taking opiates.
NON-NARCOTIC MEDICATIONS FOR CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT
There are many non-narcotic options for managing chronic pain, including both prescription and over-the-counter solutions. Here are a few of the most effective non-addictive pain relievers:
Acetaminophen: Known by the brand name Tylenol, acetaminophen is a pain reliever, but not an anti-inflammatory. It doesn’t cause stomach pains the way that some anti-inflammatory drugs can, but it may cause liver damage, especially for those who drink alcohol.
Anti-inflammatory medications: Sometimes prescribed and other times available over the counter, anti-inflammatory medications include Aleve, Advil, Motrin, Lodine, Indocin and Celebrex. These help reduce swelling and inflammation, in turn relieving pain.
Prescription painkillers: Some prescriptions that may be effective in treating neuropathic pain include Neurontin or Lyrica. These medications can be abused and put a patient at risk for addiction, so use caution with these drugs.
Topical pain relievers: These include creams and ointments that can be applied directly to the skin. They often work in conjunction with other oral medications or pain-relieving therapies.
Corticosteroid injections: Oftentimes used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation caused by arthritis, sciatica, herniated discs and more. Corticosteroid injections are not a viable long-term pain management option, but many patients find that 1-3 injections can effectively cure their joint pain.
Ketamine: Ketamine infusions for pain management are highly effective for those suffering from chronic pain conditions, such as CRPS, fibromyalgia, phantom limb pain, neuropathic pain, complex, treatment-resisant migraines, and more. Infusions are administered onsite at a ketamine clinic, in a safe, comfortable and controlled environment. While high doses of ketamine can result in hallucinations or a high, when used for chronic pain management it is administered in much lower doses, monitored by a physician, and not usually provided to patients as a take-home medication.
NON-MEDICINAL PAIN MANAGEMENT THERAPIES
Physical therapy: Physical therapy is a very effective way to restore your range of movement and improve mobility. Through targeted exercises customized especially for you, your physical therapist will help you rebuild muscle groups, increase flexibility and naturally reduce pain.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): TENS uses a mild electrical current to block or “reroute” pain signals going from your body to your brain. Similar solutions include Iontopherosis, which uses electrical stimulation to drive medications into areas of pain or inflammation, or altrasound, which uses sound waves to stimulate the tissue and promote healing.
Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a machine-assisted technique that allows patients to control their body’s own responses, including its response to pain. It takes advantage of the parasympathetic/sympathetic nervous system balance and brings that system more in harmony, which thereby reduces the experience of pain.
Chiropractic: Through manipulating the body’s alignment and repairing subluxations, chiropractic care relieves pain while allowing the body to more effectively heal itself!
Acupuncture: Acupuncture uses very fine needles on meridian points across your body to release endorphins, your body’s natural painkilling chemical. Multiple high quality studies have shown acupuncture to be beneficial.
Massage: Therapeutic massage reduces pain by relaxing inflamed or sore muscles, tendons and joints. Again, parasympathetic/sympathetic nervous system rebalancing may be part of the benefit.
A few simple yet effective lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce the impact that pain has on your everyday life. Try making the following changes in your life for pain reduction and ongoing chronic pain management:
Exercise; especially for those suffering from lower back pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia. This is easier said than done, and we don’t mean to minimize the heroic effort needed for many chronic pain sufferers to exercise. But know that there are experts who specialize in creating low-impact exercise programs for people whose movements are limited by severe pain.
Weight loss; excessive weight can turn a mild or moderate pain condition into an extreme pain condition. Losing weight may help alleviate some of your everyday pain.
Yoga or Tai Chi; practicing yoga and tai chi is not only valuable for your mind, but also for your body. Stretch and strengthen your muscles to improve chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, lower back pain, arthritis and even headaches.
Most hospitals across the United States encourage the use of such mind-body techniques as meditation & mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises and even hypnosis.
With so many non-opiate pain management options available, there is hope that you will find a combination of treatments and therapies to treat your pain. Spreading awareness of these non-narcotic pain management solutions can help combat the opiate crisis and prevent substance abuse and deaths caused by overdose.
CONTACT KETAMINE DENVER
If you or a loved one is suffering from a chronic pain condition, ketamine infusions may be able to help you. At Vitalitas Denver, we have helped many patients to get their pain under control in order to live a more fulfilling, pain-free life. If you would like to learn more about ketamine for chronic pain management, complete the brief form below. We’ll answer any questions you may have, address your concerns, and point you in the right direction towards finding relief.