Managing Chronic Pain without Painkillers

By Jill Gonzalez

As many as 43 percent of adults have reported that chronic pain routinely interferes with their participation in some type of activity. With approximately 90 percent of adults experiencing pain at least once a month, it is no wonder that so many of them become addicted to painkillers.

Chronic pain is a serious, ongoing problem in the United States, and doctors typically respond to patient complaints by prescribing some type of pain medication to help alleviate symptoms. Most people take pain medication according to prescribed doses without taking more than they are supposed to. For others, an addiction to pain medication can develop with prolonged use, causing more complications than their original pain.

How a person deals with pain is unique to each individual. No two people deal with pain in the same way, and we all have varying abilities to tolerate pain without needing prescription medication. For people who experience chronic or acute pain that cannot be alleviated through the use of simple over-the-counter analgesics, it might be a good idea to explore alternative treatment options for dealing with pain.

Alternative Treatment Options

There are dozens of alternative treatment options for pain relief that do not involve taking pills. If you suffer from some type of chronic or acute pain, the best thing you can do is take a proactive interest in your own health and well being and conduct some research to find a chronic pain treatment option that is right for you.

Stress Management: In some instances, people may find that stress management helps them reduce the amount of pain they are experiencing. Stress management involves finding activities to participate in that help you to relax, unwind and let go of your troubles for a while. Massage, meditation, yoga, or participating in group or individual therapy sessions can help you bring a certain amount of stability and balance into your life.

Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can teach you how to properly take care of your body and how to deal with pain in your daily life. This is extremely important for those who suffer from chronic pain, as there may not be any realistic way of completely getting rid of what ails you. Physical therapy can teach you how to move properly and more carefully, and it will improve your overall range of motion. It also helps to strengthen your muscles, which may help to reduce your instances of pain over time.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is another alternative treatment that has become increasingly popular in recent years. With many insurance companies offering at least a limited number of treatments per calendar year to patients, more people are taking advantage of the many benefits that acupuncture has to offer. When choosing an acupuncturist, it is important that you check on a practitioner’s credentials to ensure that he or she is fully licensed and in compliance with your state’s regulations.

Commit to a Fitness Program

One of the essential keys to staying healthy and keeping your muscles and bones strong is regular exercise. For people who suffer from chronic pain, incorporating an exercise regimen into their routines is an excellent way to combat pain. Many people say that exercising causes them to hurt more, so they avoid it. The reality, however, is that inactivity actually plays a large role in making such conditions worse over time.

If you do not exercise on a regular basis, your muscles will begin to degenerate, which can lead to such things as decreased bone density, heart disease and depression. Our bodies were meant to move, even when we don’t necessarily feel our best. The key is learning how to get your workouts in each day (or at least several times per week) without letting chronic pain get in your way.

To have the safest experience with regular exercise, you should enlist the services of a professional trainer or nutritionist to help you get started with a plan that isn’t too strenuous. With time and patience, you will find that your body gets stronger and is able to handle gradually more intensive workout sessions.

Stretching, yoga, walking, cycling and swimming are the most commonly recommended activities for people who suffer from chronic pain. Participating in low or non-impact cardiovascular exercises is a great way to get your muscles activated, which will in turn help boost your metabolism and strengthen your body’s defenses.

If you are concerned about becoming addicted to painkillers, try these alternative treatment options for pain before seeking out a prescription from your doctor. They may be just what you need to handle your chronic pain.