Navigating drug-free pain management options

Painkillers are useful medications for common discomforts like headaches or backaches, and their occasional use is fine. However, prolonged use of painkillers can cause an increase in tolerance to the drug, resulting in a need to increase the dosage. This is especially true for people who suffer from chronic pain.

According to a 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 50 million adults in the United States live with chronic pain and 19.6 million live with high-impact chronic pain. Chronic pain has been linked to a dependence on painkillers, specifically opioids.

Depending on the location and severity of your pain, the following alternative treatments may be able to help you manage your pain drug-free. You can find additional information at The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Movement-Based Therapies

Activities like exercise, yoga and physical therapy can strengthen muscles, support joints, improve alignment and release endorphins.

Nutritional and Herbal Remedies

An anti-inflammatory diet and supplements can help ease chronic pain by boosting the body’s natural immunity, reducing pain-causing inflammation and soothing pain.

Mind-Body Medicine

Meditation, guided imagery, and biofeedback can help reduce stressful, pain-inducing emotions and focus attention on something other than physical pain.

Physical Manipulation

Massage, chiropractic manipulation, and osteopathy on areas with musculoskeletal pain can help restore mobility, improve circulation, decrease blood pressure and relieve stress.

Energy Healing

In Chinese medicine, chi is the electrical energy emitted by the body’s nervous system. Acupuncture, acupressure, and reiki can relax the body and mind, produce natural painkillers and activate natural pleasure centers.

It is important to remember that not every alternative therapy is right for everyone. When choosing an alternative treatment, remember to keep an open mind and explore different therapies. Additionally, work with your doctor to find a good balance between alternative and traditional medicine.