Dealing with Chronic Pain without Narcotic Painkillers
Today there are more Americans struggling with chronic pain than ever before. A recent Institute of Medicine report says, “116 million American adults have chronic pain,” which is a number far larger than any previous study.
Physicians tend to respond to patient complaints of chronic pain by prescribing narcotic painkillers. Prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet act on the opioid receptors in the brain to relieve pain. The problem lies in the fact that these narcotic painkillers are highly addictive and cause serious risk for dependence.
With so many individuals struggling with chronic pain, the question arises as to whether they should take these narcotic painkillers at all and for some, should they take prescription pain pills long-term. For those recovering from addiction, taking narcotic painkillers is an option that many are not willing to risk.
How people cope with pain is unique to each individual. We all have varying tolerances to dealing with physical pain and none of us handle pain in the same way. Its important to understand that there are numerous alternatives to dealing with chronic pain with out the use of prescription narcotic painkillers.
The following list contains intuitive ways to cope with pain without the use of narcotic painkillers.
There are a number of effective alternative therapies for treating chronic pain with out narcotic painkillers. Mind body therapies, including hypnosis, imagery, meditation and biofeedback can help alleviate the discomfort associated with chronic pain. Acupuncture is also believed to decrease pain by increasing endorphins, which are the chemicals that block pain. Chiropractic treatment is beneficial for certain types of back pain, and massage therapy keeps pain away with out the use of narcotic painkillers. Massage also reduces stress and relieves tension by enhancing blood flow.
2. Heat and ice
Doctors recommend ice for the first few days and then switch to heat. Treatments with heat for chronic pain help relax and loosen tissues. Heat also stimulates blood flow in the area. Always use heat treatments after activity, especially exercise and do not use heat treatments for too long to avoid burning.
Although it may seem counterproductive to exercise while experiencing physical pain, physicians say mild exercise will help in the long run. Be sure to check with your doctor for the appropriate exercise techniques for your specific injury.
Sleep deficiency generally makes you more receptive to pain. With out sleep the same injury may seem more intense than hurting yourself or dealing with chronic pain when you’ve had sufficient sleep. Make sure you get enough REM sleep, because this is the type that directly affects your tolerance to pain.
Recent studies show that taking supplements like Vitamin B, fish oil, chondroitin and glucosamine work tremendously against fighting chronic pain. Remember, supplements cannot do all the work on their own. Pain management with out the use of narcotic painkillers is most effective when combined with alternative therapies, exercise, a regular sleep cycle and a healthy diet.
If you need help with narcotic painkiller addiction, a drug rehab center is your best option. Call Palm Partners Recovery Center at 1-877-711-HOPE (4673).