Feeling moderate to high levels of pain for a prolonged period of time is known as chronic pain. Being in pain for a prolonged period is just a bad place to be. It can leave the sufferer feeling weak and exhausted, and interfere with their ability to live their life.
Unfortunately, one of the most common treatments for chronic pain leads to the risk of involving the sufferer in the foremost epidemic of our country: the opioid epidemic. Opioids are the leading treatment for chronic pain. But are they the most effective?
Sufferers of chronic pain might be surprised to know that there are other ways of managing chronic pain they can explore, including non-prescription treatments. From acupuncture and meditation to exercising and stretching, there is hope for these painful conditions beyond medication.
New research is exploring promising technological solutions to help sufferers overcome their conditions. A couple of the newest technologies, virtual and augmented reality, are reshaping the conversation on chronic pain.
Let’s discuss the information you need to know on how to treat chronic pain without addictive medications like opioids and explore the cutting edge of non-prescription treatments. There is hope for chronic pain and the future is exciting.
The Problem With Prescriptions for Chronic Pain
Most doctors prescribe medication with the best of intentions. They hope that the medication will alleviate the symptoms and help the body of the patient to heal. Medicine is, after all, the discipline of healing and helping.
Opioids are a class of drugs developed to relieve pain. They receive their name because they affect the opioid receptors in the patient’s brain, which blocks pain receptors and brings relief. Unfortunately, opioids are also a class of drugs that is highly addictive and include illegal controlled substances such as heroin.
The use of opioids too often turns into misuse. This class of drug is highly addictive, and patients may not be aware they are addicted until it is too late. Overdose risk is high. In short, avoiding opioids is preferable, and indeed necessary for those who are in addiction treatment and recovery.
Seeking Treatment for Opioid Abuse
One of the most important things a person can do if they know that they are facing opioid addiction is to seek treatment. Talking to a Doctor about treatment options can be a great place to start. They should also look at their treatment facility options.
Knowing what they are up against can help with their success in treatment. Recognizing that opioid medications are dangerous when misused is a good first step. Acknowledging addiction is another.
There are a few warning signs of opioid addiction. Some of these include:
- Seeking early refills or extra prescriptions
- Changing doctors because you have been cut off from prescriptions
- Seeking opioid medications outside of medically approved prescriptions
National Drug Take-Backs
To curb the opioid epidemic in the United States, government agencies including the Department of Justice sponsor drug take-back events. These events encourage individuals to safely dispose of unused opioid medications so that they do not fall into the wrong hands. They can also be an important first step in ridding oneself of addictive behavior.
Last month on April 22, the Department of Justice sponsored National Drug Take-Back Day. Many communities across the country continue to sponsor drug take-back events. Contacting your local government can give you information about when there might be an event near you.
Hope for Treatment of Chronic Pain
We have spent a lot of time talking about why opioids are a dangerous type of medication for those in addiction recovery. But what are the alternatives for people who suffer from chronic pain?
There is good news! Quite a few medical and non-medical treatments can relieve your chronic pain without potentially addictive medications. Some of these treatments, such as acupuncture, date back thousands of years.
Mindfulness to Treat the Body and Mind
Living in pain is like living in a house under a sinking roof. No matter what you do, you feel the constant weight and pressure pressing down on you.
Lower back pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the world. Many cultures around the world have used acupuncture as a treatment for pain for thousands of years.
Research has begun to show that meditation and mindfulness practices are successful in treating chronic pain symptoms. These non-medical treatments also show positive signs in alleviating the depression and quality of life symptoms associated with prolonged pain.
Exercising and Stretching for Chronic Pain Relief
Believe it or not, regular exercise might help to alleviate and even prevent future pain. Back pain is usually caused by weak strength in the muscles of the back. Regular exercise like cardio can strengthen these muscles and make you feel better while you are doing it.
The reality is that most people will feel pain due to injury or another cause at some point in their lives. Engaging in stretching exercises at least two days a week can help to ease chronic pain caused by muscle injury.
One thing to remember is not to try to engage in heavy lifting. Moderate exercise is about getting the blood pumping and helping your heart, muscles, and body to be healthier.
The Future of Chronic Pain Treatment
The outlook for non-prescription chronic pain treatment has never been brighter. Experts are using cutting-edge technology in the fields of virtual reality and augmented reality to rehabilitate patients. As technology improves, we may move away from the need for prescription interventions entirely.
One of the foremost issues in the United States today is the ongoing opioid epidemic. Even though many prescription opioids are prescribed with the best of intentions, their use can have lasting effects on pain sufferers that include addiction and death. Government initiatives seeking to curb opioid use include drug take-back events that give sufferers a safe way to dispose of these addictive substances. If you are in recovery for a controlled substance or opioid use, you know the dangers of these medications. Treatments such as meditation and exercise can help alleviate pain without prescription drugs. Contact your Renaissance Ranch care team at (801) 308-8898 to learn how you can safely treat chronic pain today.