According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), 1 in 10 Americans live with chronic pain, and healthcare providers rely on different forms of opioids to manage or alleviate acute pain. Now, such drugs have been facing scrutiny regarding their widespread use, because even though they are effective in treating pain that lasts for less than three months or severe pain following surgery; they are highly addictive even when taken as directed.
There are many alternatives for treating chronic pain that offer both a medicinal and holistic perspective, however for these approaches to be more effective, they should be combined with psychological support and physical therapy to treat the condition and provide long-term pain relief. In addition, on average, patients living with chronic pain get less sleep every night, which can lead to other issues such as stress, depression, isolation, or even an exaggeration of the pain.
In many cases, drug addiction can exist simultaneously with chronic noncancer pain, which is common among individuals who are receiving treatment for a substance use disorder. Given the risks of problematic use and dependence, there has been a growing concern about prescribing pharmaceutical opioids for patients with chronic non-cancer pain due to the potential for addiction. Even though chronic pain sufferers believe that only opioid pain relievers and prescription NSAIDs can relieve moderate to severe pain, there are non-pharmacological approaches that can be used together with counseling and physical therapy that has been found to be effective in pain management.
Non-pharmacological pain management methods utilize holistic practices to alter a patient’s thoughts and focus concentration to better manage and reduce pain. Such methods include;
- Education and psychological conditioning to help lower a patient’s stress and anxiety levels in terms of what they can expect as an outcome of a treatment
- Hypnosis using relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and stretching and guided imagery to help a patient to shift his or her attention away from the pain to reduce discomfort
- Other non-pharmacological pain management include physical and occupational therapy, comfort therapy, psychosocial therapy, counseling, as well as acupuncture and acupressure
- Cognitive behavioral restructuring techniques such as constructive and positive self-talk have been effective in treating depression, anxiety, the stress in patients struggling with chronic pain
Opioid pain relievers alter how the brain responds to pain and work by creating artificial “feel good” endorphins that lower pain signals that the body sends to your brain. They are generally safe when used correctly, however, because they deliver such a powerful response, patients who misuse opioids are more likely to develop tolerance to the drug and become addicted, requiring incrementally higher doses to get the same kind of pain relief.
While some patients can use opioids safely without becoming addicted to them, their potential for dependence is high, even more so if you use them for long-term pain management. The good news is that you can get help if you suspect that you are addicted to drugs and you can get the support you need to live a drug-free life. Request a call back today to learn more about detox, the first step in your journey to recovery.