Chronic pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. Opioid pain medication is a common treatment that can have dangerous repercussions, especially for those recovering from substance abuse. Many pain medications are addictive, leading to a slippery slope of dependency or relapse for those in recovery. That’s why finding alternative pain relief that can help you deal with the effects of chronic pain is imperative.
Why Pain Drugs May Not Be the Best Approach to Pain Relief
If you struggle with chronic pain, you’ve probably experienced painful sensations for up to 12 weeks or longer. This type of pain affects almost every aspect of a person’s life, from their job to their personal relationships, so finding an effective treatment is crucial.
As your doctor treats your chronic pain, their goal is to provide you with consistent pain relief to help you function physically and socially. Opioid drugs are used to help patients achieve this end. However, these pain-relieving drugs are highly addictive and not intended for long-term pain treatment.
Beyond that, there are many other reasons opioids are not the best approach to pain relief:
- Opioid drugs impair thinking, affect coordination and cause mood alterations
- Many people form a tolerance to opioids, rendering low doses of the drug ineffective
- Drug dependence is a common side effect of long-term opioid use
- Over time, opioids can make chronic pain symptoms worse
- As the drugs wear off, withdrawal causes severe physical and emotional symptoms
Six Chronic Pain Management Techniques Without Medication
If you’re recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it’s important to not introduce new addictive substances into your life. So, how do you manage chronic pain without drugs?
There are alternative pain management methods with far fewer risks that may be a viable option for those recovering from addiction, including:
- Over-the-counter medications: These are pain relievers available without a prescription, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen (Aleve) that help relieve mild to moderate pain.
- Physical and occupational therapy: A physical or occupational therapist can work with you to improve your ability to move, walk and even perform day-to-day activities like dressing or bathing without pain.
- Pain-relieving devices: Assistive devices like splints, braces, canes or walkers can help support painful joints, reduce nerve pressure and relieve aches and pains.
- Interventional pain management: More invasive techniques such as surgery, electrostimulation or implantable drug delivery systems can improve chronic pain and restore quality of life for some people.
- Therapeutic injections: Localized injections provide direct relief to areas of pain, alleviating symptoms and reducing swelling or inflammation.
- Holistic methods: Often combined with more traditional pain-relieving techniques, many patients find that non-invasive procedures such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, herbal remedies, yoga or meditation provide incredible relief.
Turn to Gateway for Help With Addiction and Pain Management
If you are struggling with an addiction to prescription opioids or you use drugs or alcohol to address painful symptoms, don’t go through this alone. At Gateway in Chicago, Illinois, our team is dedicated to helping those in the grips of addiction get the help they need to take control of their life.
Through evidence-based treatment, including specialized pain relief techniques and counseling services, we can help you work through issues related to chronic pain. Our compassionate staff wants to help you find freedom from pain and freedom from addiction. To learn more, please contact us online or call to speak with a member of our team at 877.379.9078.