Millions of Americans live with daily chronic pain, and many take opioid painkillers to reduce it. Unfortunately, opioids are highly addictive, and they come with a high risk of overdose, to the tune of 115 people losing their lives every day to opioid overdose.
Opioids also produce tolerance very quickly, which means that due to the brain changing its chemical function to compensate for the presence of the drug, you need increasingly larger doses to get the same pain-relieving effects. This can lead to opioid dependence, which is characterized by withdrawal symptoms that set in when you suddenly stop using opioids.
Researchers are working hard to develop effective, non-opioid pain relievers, and medical practitioners are introducing their patients to opioid-free pain management techniques, using a wide variety of practices and supplements that are safe and effective.
If you suffer from chronic pain and are looking for non-opioid relief, here are some of the successful techniques other sufferers have turned to in order to manage their pain.
1 – Behavioral Therapy
Chronic pain can lead to depression, anger, and frustration. A constant state of pain is incredibly difficult to cope with, and people who experience it may feel isolated and anxious.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for pain involves learning effective ways of coping with pain. It helps people shift their focus from pain to relaxation, and it fosters a sense of control, empowerment, and calm, which goes a long way toward reducing the pain response.
2 – Biofeedback
Chronic pain turns on the body’s stress response, which in turn worsens the pain. Biofeedback therapy helps individuals learn to reduce stress on the spot to reduce the sensation of pain.
During biofeedback, you’re hooked up to a machine that measures your stress response, including heart rate, muscle tension, blood pressure, breathing rate, and skin moisture. Then, you practice stress-relief techniques like deep breathing and progressive relaxation as you watch your stress response fall on the monitor.
Many cognitive-behavioral therapists who specialize in pain management incorporate biofeedback therapy into their practice.
3 – Acupuncture
For some kinds of pain, including chronic headaches, migraines, and back and neck pain, acupuncture is an effective pain management technique.
An ancient practice originating in China, acupuncture is becoming increasingly mainstream in Western medicine due to its effectiveness. During acupuncture, which is painless, long, thin needles are inserted into the skin at various pressure points throughout the body.
This improves the flow of energy through the body, reduces inflammation, and releases endorphins in the brain, which provide natural pain relief.
4 – Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care was once considered alternative, even fringe, medicine, but it’s commonly used today to help manage a range of conditions that cause chronic pain.
Chiropractors manipulate and adjust the spine to relieve back and neck pain, headaches, and arm and leg joint pain. It’s also used to treat pain associated with fibromyalgia.
Electrical stimulation, relaxation techniques, and lifestyle adjustments are often part of chiropractic care for chronic pain.
5 – Cold and Heat
While most people associate cold and heat with treating acute injuries like a sprained ankle, these are highly effective for treating chronic pain.
Cold compresses reduce inflammation, and heat relaxes muscles. Ten minutes of cold followed by ten minutes of heat can help reduce chronic back and neck pain, as well as joint pain and muscle pain.
6 – Hypnosis
Hypnosis for pain management helps you use your mind to manage pain. It relaxes you into a calm space, where you can work through negative emotions that increase sensations of pain, including anger and depression.
During hypnosis, the trained practitioner eases you into a subconscious state, where there are few mental barriers. The practitioner issues suggestions that can help you manage pain in your conscious state.
For example, the practitioner may suggest that you can turn down your arthritis pain as if you’re turning the flame down on the stove. Later, when you’re in a conscious state, visualizing turning down your pain can effectively reduce it.
7 – All-Natural Supplementation
Many natural, harmless substances have pain-relief properties, and for many types of chronic pain, especially muscle and joint pain, a supplement that contains these ingredients can help treat your pain, particularly when they’re used alongside other non-drug pain management strategies.
Nerveology’s Advanced Pain Response contains research-based ingredients, including herbs and enzymes, that support your body’s natural response to inflammation and improves mobility and flexibility. Ingredients include bromelain, ginger root extract, fungal protease, and serrapeptase, all of which are clinically proven to reduce the pain response.
Don’t let your chronic pain run your life. By taking a proactive, curious approach to pain management and giving non-medication pain relief strategies a try, you can reduce your pain and learn to better cope with it for a higher quality of life and a greater sense of wellbeing.