Opioids are the most common form of chronic pain management for patients in the U.S. Unfortunately, they also are highly addictive with a number of detrimental side effects. Alternative methods of pain management often are not provided in mainstream medicine due to the presence of pharmaceutical companies in healthcare. However, there are several ways you can manage your chronic pain without risking addiction or relapse if you already have recovered from an addiction to painkillers. Here are a few of your options for managing pain without medication.
Exercise is Highly Effective
Though it can be very difficult to exercise with chronic pain, the more you exercise, the less pain your will experience. Regular exercise will stretch the muscles, reduce inflammation, and improve range of motion.
Mind Over Matter is Real
Meditation is another great way to manage pain. With practice, you will be able to move your mind to a place that does not feel the pain. Furthermore, meditation reduces stress and tension, two common contributors to chronic pain. It will not have an immediate effect because learning to meditate takes time. However, if you incorporate meditative practice into your daily routine, you will notice a difference.
Herbal Remedies May Help
For some people, herbal remedies can be very effective in managing pain. Turmeric, in particular, is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. You either can add these helpful herbs into your diet or take supplemental capsules. Just be sure to steer clear of homeopathy as it has been proven completely ineffective.
Physical Therapy Can Make an Important Impact
Some worry that too much movement will amplify their pain, but physical therapy can relieve many kinds of chronic pain conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, and fibromyalgia. Physical therapy helps strengthen muscles and increase flexibility. It can also teach patients to avoid painful movements or postures throughout the day so they can proactively prevent issues on their own. The results aren’t instantaneous but with commitment and patience, you and your therapist can find the best techniques for your condition and decrease pain over time.
Watching Your Diet May Be an Easy Fix
Inflammation is typically the main cause of chronic pain. If you aren’t watching your diet, you may be unintentionally eating foods that cause inflammation and not getting enough of those that reduce inflammation. Try combing through your diet and collecting new recipes. You might just be surprised by how much your diet affects your pain levels.
Consider Treatment for Underlying Issues
Studies are beginning to show that there may be a link between mental health problems and chronic pain. People with anxiety tend to experience chronic pain as do people with poor health overall. If your chronic pain has not been explained, seek out other forms of treatment. With holistic care, you can get to the source of the problem rather than treating the symptom.
Suffering from chronic pain can make daily life difficult. Being faced with few options outside opioids certainly doesn’t make things easier. Rather than risk addiction to painkillers, try out a few of these methods. Keep in mind that not all chronic pain is the same and not every method will work for each situation. Test new methods until you find one that works.