Chronic pain affects millions of Americans. Until recently, medical professionals would prescribe opioids, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, for pain management. These drugs are incredibly addictive, and opioid abuse and overdose have created a national health crisis.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) suggests these opioid alternative treatments. Please keep in mind that you should consult a healthcare professional before taking any medication (including over the counter), herbs or supplements, or other treatment options.
Why Alternative Treatments Should Be Considered
More than 130 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that at least 40 percent of these fatalities are from prescribed opioids, such as OxyContin and Vicodin.
Healthcare providers should prescribe these highly addictive pain relievers with caution. Patients need to be checked regularly for signs of addiction, abuse, and potential overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone taking opioids is at risk for an overdose. Those more vulnerable include:
- People with addiction issues
- Patients age 65 and over
- Patients with sleep apnea, liver and kidney function issues, and other medical conditions
- People who cannot be trusted to follow dosage guidelines (for example, cognitive impairment)
Pain Relievers Without Opioids
The ASA suggests these opioid alternative treatments that do not need a prescription, including:
- Topical anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving gels and lotions
There are prescription versions of ibuprofen and acetaminophen that have higher dosages. Steroids and other anti-inflammatory medications can be effective for pain. A combination of pain relief and steroids might be a possibility as well.
Natural Supplements and Herbal Alternatives
Long before modern medicine, people used natural supplements and herbal remedies for pain. Please keep in mind that vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies are not regulated for quality or efficacy. However, people who suffer from chronic pain, arthritis, migraines, and other medical conditions find relief in these supplements. Here are some popular supplements and their suggested uses and benefits:
- Turmeric for inflammation
- Devil’s root claw for arthritis and back pain
- Capsicum or capsaicin skin cream for aches and arthritis
- Comfrey cream for lower or upper back pain
- White willow bark for headaches and back pain
- Boswellia for migraines
- Omega-3 fatty acids for inflammation and joint pain
Exercises for Chronic Pain Relief
According to an article in The Huffington Post, exercise can help ease chronic pain symptoms. Low-impact, regular exercise improves blood flow and oxygen to the brain. This can decrease a person’s sensitivity to chronic pain. The most recommended exercises for chronic pain relief include:
- Weight training
Exercise also triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are a natural boost to your well-being. You should check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. Begin slowly and gradually increase your workouts in both length and intensity.
Additional Opioid Alternative Treatments
There are other opioid alternative treatments. Some people find relief with these nondrug therapies alone or in combination with medications:
- Physical therapy
- Meditation and biofeedback techniques
There are high-tech opioid alternative treatments as well, including:
- Radio wave ablation that may short-circuit or block pain
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation uses low voltage electrical impulses
- Nerve blocks that use numbing medication
- Pain pumps can relieve spine pain
- Spinal cord stimulation that replaces pain with a more tolerable sensation
Effective Pain Management Often Combines Nondrug and Opioid Alternative Medicine
Depending on your age, overall health, and certain medical conditions, you can get pain relief without using opioids. Often, the most effective pain management is a combination of medicine, nondrug treatments, exercise, and other alternative treatments. You should explore the many alternatives to opioids to manage pain.
We Encourage Opioid Alternative Treatments
Our law firm specializes in medical malpractice cases. Pintas & Mullins helps injured and disabled clients and their families by pursuing compensation related to medical errors. We accept cases involving catastrophic injuries or death, including opioid overdoses.
Our team of lawyers, medical experts, and investigators can determine if you or a family member qualifies for compensation related to medical negligence. We pursue compensation for damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Ongoing treatment
- Lifecare services
- Loss of income, benefits, and other financial assets
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death
Call Pintas & Mullins for a Free Consultation
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