There’s no doubt that the opioid epidemic has led to an increased public health concern about chronic pain management. For people who have an opioid use disorder and chronic pain, finding non-opioid based treatments for their pain is vital.
Fortunately, activities that promote physical and mental health, like chiropractic care and counseling, can offer effective pain management for opiate addicts as well as people concerned about becoming addicted. Learn more about chronic pain and how to manage symptoms without opioids.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is long-term pain, persisting for twelve weeks or longer. This is unlike acute pain, which is temporary. Chronic pain can have a drastic impact on people’s mental and physical health. Symptoms of chronic pain include:
- Changes in mood, ranging in severity
- Poor sleep
- Weak appetite
- Low stamina
While there is no cure for chronic pain, prescription medications are typically included in a treatment plan to help manage symptoms. Some of these medications, while highly effective, can increase risks of developing an addiction.
If you are worried that you have an increased risk to develop an opioid addiction or you’re in recovery, there are many techniques available that can help treat chronic pain. Even if you aren’t concerned about an opioid use disorder, you may want to explore other treatment options for chronic pain.
Physical Therapies That Can Help Manage Pain
Activities such as massage therapy and chiropractic care can help reduce chronic pain. While no method will cure long-term pain, treatments centered on improving physical health can be very beneficial for people seeking opioid-free pain management.
Through physical therapy, people can learn more about the causes and symptoms of their chronic pain. By teaching people movements designed to lessen stress on their body and improve their range of motion, physical therapists can help reduce the amount of pain people experience.
For people suffering from chronic pain in areas like the neck or lower back, chiropractic care can be an effective treatment option. Chiropractors aim to reduce pain through a variety of treatments:
- Manipulation of the spine
- Exercise to improve posture
- Manual therapy
Massage therapy is another treatment for managing chronic pain. A massage therapist will provide pain relief to targeted areas while also helping muscles throughout the body relax. Along with decreasing pain, a massage can be a great way for people to reduce stress and boost their mood.
Yoga can provide people with an effective way to exercise while also relieving pain. Yoga is a low-impact exercise that can strengthen and build muscle, which is especially beneficial for those suffering from lower back pain. The emphasis that yoga places on breathing can improve mind-body awareness.
Yoga can also help to manage mental health symptoms associated with chronic pain and addiction. For many reasons, yoga as a pain management technique may be worth exploring.
Mental Health Techniques
Alongside activities like physical therapy, working to improve mental health and mindfulness can also play a significant role in relieving long-term pain. For people who struggle with opioid addiction or are worried about becoming addicted, meditation and counseling can be effective, medication-free treatment options for chronic pain.
Mindfulness meditation can be an important skill for treating chronic pain. By teaching people to reduce their stress levels and improve the connection between their mind and body, mindfulness meditation can help practitioners decrease the amount of pain they feel.
People living with chronic pain might also consider working with a mental health professional who practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This type of therapy teaches people to change the way they think about and relate to their pain.
To increase your quality of life, finding a treatment option is important for your well-being. There are ways to treat chronic pain without narcotics. Effective treatment options will vary based on symptoms and severity. Talk openly and honestly with your physician about your pain. They can help you develop a plan that works for you.
Just like addiction recovery is an ongoing, lifelong process, so is your chronic pain management. Working at both will always be a part of your life.
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