Alternatives to Opiates for Pain Management

Managing pain can be hard work and to handle the challenges, many individuals turn to opiates. Opiates can be highly effective, and have been used for centuries to numb severe discomfort. Unfortunately, the problem with these seemingly amazing drugs is that they are highly addictive, and being addicted has its own set of problems. Natural opiates come from opium poppies, but there are semi-synthetic opioids as well, such as oxycodone, oxymorphone and hydrocodone. There are several healthier alternatives for those who suffer from chronic pain.

Rule Out Underlying Causes

If a person is suffering from chronic pain, he or she should take a look at underlying health problems by scheduling a consultation with healthcare professionals. There may be conditions that can be cured or corrected, eliminating the pain so no more opiates are needed. Physical therapy, surgery, weight loss, lifestyle alterations, and natural remedies can bring about relief, and end chronic suffering.

Exercise Programs

Physical therapists and specialists are able to design exercise programs to return pain-inflicted individuals to their pre-injury comfort levels. PTs and sports medicine professionals are highly educated to accomplish these goals.

Massage

Relaxation techniques such as massage can help to alleviate pain. Massage therapists press, rub, and manipulate ligaments, tendons, muscles, and skin to reduce discomforts such as fibromyalgia, headaches, myofascial pain syndrome, paresthesias, nerve pain, soft tissue injuries, ligament pulls, and muscle tension. There are multiple types of massage, including:

  • Swedish massage, which is a gentle technique that entails deep circular pressure, tapping, and kneading.
  • Deep massaging technique, which is a bit more forceful and soothes connective tissue and deep muscles, so can be helpful with sports injuries.
  • Trigger-point massage, which concentrates on muscle fibers. This technique works to relax tight muscles that are painfully contracted.

EFAs – Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

Omega-3 essential fatty acids decrease inflammation, so can reduce pain. EFAs can be found in fish oil from seafood or through capsules. Decreasing other types of processed oils in cooking can be an effective boon to eliminating discomfort, as well. Healthy oils for cooking and salad dressings include olive oils and virgin coconut oils.

Vitamin D

A lack of vitamin D in one’s diet has been associated with chronic pain. Vitamin D can be found in

foods, supplements, and the rays of the sun. Some foods such as dairy products, orange juice, breakfast cereal, and margarines are fortified with Vitamin D. It’s found naturally in sardines, beef liver, tuna, cod liver oil, and salmon.

Lifestyle Changes

Making changing in lifestyle can impact the pain a person feels. For example, high stress jobs and relationships can reflect in the physical body. By learning to cope with stressful situations, individuals can lessen their body pain. Various strategies can help, including:

  • Counseling to create a toolbox of coping strategies
  • Learning relaxation techniques
  • Rethinking pain-inducing behaviors
  • Healthy eating
  • Exercise programs
  • Breathing techniques
  • Bio-feedback

Dealing with ongoing pain can be very difficult for the individual who is suffering the physical discomfort and his or her inner circle of family and friends. Becoming addicted to opiates can be more troublesome than the physical pain itself. Luckily, there are options and alternative strategies that can take the place of narcotics.

3 thoughts on “Alternatives to Opiates for Pain Management

  1. Thanks for this post. One of my good friends deals with this constantly and I am going to share these ideas with her. I have never heard of Vitamin D helping with pain.

  2. I’m lucky that I don’t have chronic pain. I have pain sometimes associated with my RA. I get a massage every other week and swim in warm water 3 times a week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *