Opioids are potent drugs that can significantly relieve pain but come with risks, including addiction and side effects. Non-opioid treatments provide similar pain relief without the same risks. Specialists at Livingston Samwell Institute for Pain Management offer non-opioid treatments to chronic pain patients who want to avoid or reduce their use of opioids.
There are many non-opioid treatments for chronic pain. Some treat neuropathic pain, while others help reduce the pain from cancer or other medical conditions. Some non-opioid therapies block the brain from registering pain signals, while others work by reducing inflammation in the body. Some of the most popular non-opioid treatments for chronic pain include:
TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy uses small electrodes placed on your skin to send mild electrical pulses through your nerves. The theory behind this treatment is that it can help reduce the sensation of pain in your nerves, which causes your muscles to tighten up and hurt. Pain management specialists can use transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation alone or with other treatments, such as physical therapy or medication.
Physical therapy is an effective way to help you rehabilitate after surgery or injury. It is a popular treatment for chronic pain in adults and children, and it can help to relieve symptoms of back pain, arthritis, TMJ disorders, and many other conditions. Physical therapy helps to improve flexibility and range of motion, which can help to reduce stiffness and prevent injury.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT helps patients learn more effective ways to cope with stress and anxiety to reduce their reliance on drugs or alcohol. The goal of CBT is for patients to develop coping mechanisms for challenging situations so that they can better manage their mental health issues as well as their physical ones.
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
PMR uses breathing exercises and imagery to help you relax muscles throughout your body by focusing on your breath. The technique effectively reduces pain, improves sleep quality, and enhances overall health outcomes for people with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia or arthritis.
Heat therapy may help improve your physical function, decrease muscle stiffness, and lower pain levels. You can use heated pads or pillows to provide continuous warmth in different areas of your body. Maintaining proper posture while using heat therapy is vital because it can help prevent injury to your back, neck, and shoulders.
Acupuncture is an alternative medicine that uses needles to stimulate specific points in the body. Acupuncture can help with pain relief and improve mobility and function.
Acupuncture is an ideal alternative to opioids for people with chronic pain. In addition to helping relieve pain, acupuncture may also help improve sleep patterns and mood.
Non-opioid treatments may benefit patients with pain who have tried and failed with opioid medications. They may also help to prevent the use of more powerful medicines in the future. The choice of which non-opioid treatment to use depends on your medical conditions, drug history, and other factors. Each treatment has benefits. Your doctor will help you choose what can work best for you. Contact SamWell Institute for Pain Management and schedule an appointment with a pain management specialist to learn about non-opioid treatments.