How To Manage Truly Intense Chronic Pain Without Narcotics
Chronic pain has become increasingly common in the United States. In fact, in 2016 the CDC reported that just over 50 million Americans suffered from chronic pain, and 19.6 million of those individuals were dealing with high impact, or truly intense, chronic pain. Throughout the 2000s, the answer to chronic pain was found in narcotics. Opioid painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and others became commonplace. However, with what we know now about the dangerously addictive nature of opioids and the massive damage they can cause to one’s health, it is irresponsible for doctors to continue to prescribe them. Recently the CDC unveiled its new guidelines for managing chronic pain without opioids, which included a heavy emphasis on alternative therapies. Let’s take a look at some of these alternatives to opioids and examine how to manage intense chronic pain without narcotics.
High-Tech Therapies May Help Manage Intense Chronic Pain Without Narcotics
With the CDC’s recommendation that opiates should only be used in specific circumstances, and not as a catchall for chronic pain, doctors are turning to alternative therapies to help minimize chronic pain. While the FDA has recently drafted guidelines that seek to put forth an effort to create a pain-relieving medication that does not have the addictive quality of opioids, that future may still be a long way off.
At the present moment, plenty of alternative therapies exist, and most are occurring in a high-tech space. From laser treatments to spinal cord stimulation, there are a lot of treatments to help minimize chronic pain that sounds straight out of a science fiction novel. On the other hand, some techniques have been practiced for thousands of years like acupuncture, deep breathing, and meditation. Effectively minimizing chronic pain might take a variety of treatments and techniques, so it is important to explore all options and find out what works for you.
Alternative Forms Of Chronic Pain Management
Spinal Cord Stimulation
This treatment involves placing a pacemaker-like device in the lower back with tiny wires that connect it to the spinal canal. Spinal cord stimulation works via remote control. When a patient experiences pain, they use the remote to activate the device which replaces the pain signals with a tingling sensation. This method is currently being used as a last resort but may become much more widely available in the future.
Nerve Blocking Injections
If chronic pain persists in only one area, doctors are seeking to minimize it by blocking the nerves that create pain in that area. These nerves are injected with a numbing medication that dampens the pain signal. This treatment involves many injections but may be worth the time spent receiving the procedure for those living with intense chronic pain.
While much more research needs to be done, CBD has shown anecdotal evidence of pain relief in patients. Unlike marijuana, CBD has no psychoactive element, making it a safe and nonaddictive tool to help minimize chronic pain. Currently, there are no FDA-approved CBD treatments, but many institutions are studying the effects of CBD to help minimize chronic pain, so there will be much more development in the future.
While lasers are thought of as only being used for eye surgery or tattoo removal, they have been used to help minimize chronic pain since the early 2000s. These treatments use low-level lasers to activate normally dormant cells, increasing blood flow, and reducing inflammation. These treatments are non-invasive and, while more research is being done, could be an excellent way to minimize chronic pain without using narcotics.
Easy At-Home Methods For Chronic Pain Management
For those unable to invest in these high-tech methods, there are some simple ways to help minimize chronic pain at home. Experts often recommend low-impact exercises like swimming and walking to help create endorphins that fuel the body to feel better. Additionally, journaling, joining a chronic pain support group, and meditation can help you voice feelings of frustration and cope with the difficult realities of living with chronic pain. Some experts also recommend cognitive behavioral therapy and learning biofeedback, as mental health-focused ways to gain tools to cope with intense chronic pain.
If you are struggling with opioid dependency brought on by chronic pain medication, Fritz Clinic of Alabama can help. Fritz has over 35 years of expertise in helping people heal from opioid addiction. Call or contact Fritz Clinic of Alabama to begin healing today.