Chronic pain can be difficult to manage, especially when the pain may range in intensity. Sometimes, painkilling drugs are prescribed to manage pain, but what do you do when you cannot take such painkillers for other health reasons? Fortunately, there are other options for handling pain! Here are a few methods of pain management without the use of opioids or painkillers:
Why Would Someone Avoid Painkillers?
There are many reasons why someone would avoid taking painkillers and pain medications for chronic pain, but there are a few common ones as well. For example, someone may avoid taking opioids because of previous complications with opioid addiction. Narcotic painkillers like morphine can cause addiction when used frequently, so for people who have struggled with addiction in the past, doctors may avoid prescribing narcotics to relieve pain.
Other times, the side effects of a drug may outweigh the benefits. Like most medications, pain management drugs come with side effects that may not affect everyone who takes them. For some, however, these effects can be debilitating. Both narcotics and some other prescription painkillers may come with side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea, among other serious side effects as well.
For people with specific health issues, pain medications might be off the table completely. Since some prescription medications react badly when taken alongside others, it can be difficult to take prescription or over the counter medications without experiencing adverse effects when they react with each other.
If you are unsure about how your body may respond to painkillers, you should speak with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan. Also, talk with your doctor before adopting any new treatments.
Electrical Stimulation Therapy
Electrical stimulation therapy is most commonly seen in TENS and EMS units, both of which can be used to relieve pain. These machines send light electrical shocks to targeted parts of the body via electrodes and work best for joint pain, muscle pain, aches, and cramping pain. Electrical pulses can be adjusted by strength and frequency on each machine, although EMS units administer stronger shocks than TENS units do so they can stimulate the muscles.
Acupuncture, much like TENS and EMS therapy, involves targeting specific areas of the body that are in pain. The procedure involves placing thin needles at specific points in the body, one area at a time, which can help relieve dental pain, joint pain, labor pains, pain caused by osteoarthritis, and more. While this practice requires a specialist to perform, acupuncture therapy can be a relaxing experience for people with chronic pain.
Also called hot and cold therapy, temperature therapies involve applying heat or something cool onto specific parts of the body. If you’ve ever placed an ice pack on a bruise or used a heating pad, you’ve used temperature therapy. Temperature therapy typically works best with joint pain, cramps, muscle spasms, muscle pain, and headaches, but with both heat-based and cold-based therapy, the types of pain it treats vary. When working with temperature therapies, it is important to note that you can harm yourself if something is too hot or too cold.
Nerve blockers are a type of injection used to dull pain, decrease inflammation, and essentially “turn off” the pain signals in one part of the body. Often used as an anesthetic during minor surgeries or examinations, nerve blockers work best for intense acute or chronic pain. While nerve blockers do need to be administered by a specialist, they can allow nerves time to heal if damaged—something other pain management methods may not be able to do.
These methods of pain management are not for everyone, so speak with your doctor before attempting any of these therapies. To browse more pain management methods, visit Medical Supply Depot.