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Chronic Pain Management: Are Opioids Right for Me?

Managing chronic pain can be tough. About 11% of Americans have to cope with chronic pain each day and are not sure how they can go about resolving their problem. If you are part of that 11%, you may be wondering the same thing. Opioids are the most commonly prescribed medication for pain management, but those drugs do not come without risk. Meanwhile, alternative methods are cropping up, offering sufferers of chronic pain some healthier and less risky options. If you’re not sure what type of pain management you should be pursuing, consider the information on the many methods used to manage chronic pain below.

Opioids are Certainly Effective

There is a reason opioids are the most common form of pain management: they are effective. However, they also can come with an onslaught of side effects. Some of these side effects are manageable, but others have more severe consequences. Addiction is the biggest risk of using opioids long term. Though some people can use them successfully without experiencing addiction, opioids cannot be considered safe for most people in the long term.

If Not Opioids, Then What?

MedicationMost doctors will prescribe opioids or some other pharmaceutical to manage your pain. For some people, these prescriptions are necessary and shouldn’t be abandoned. However, there are other forms of pain management available. One of the best is good old-fashioned exercise. Exercise has been shown to be very effective against chronic pain when performed regularly. However, it can feel impossible to do when you’re in pain.

A less active option might be meditation. Meditation is more powerful than many people give it credit for. It teaches you to control your thoughts, perceptions, and even your body. A study done on Buddhist monks witnessed control of body temperature through meditation; they spent a night on snowy cliff sides in nothing but robes, but the meditation kept them safe and warm. Other beneficial methods of pain management include acupuncture and alteration of your diet.

Chiropractic care is another great option for many chronic pain conditions, including headaches, fibromyalgia, back pain, and musculoskeletal pain. By readjusting your body’s alignment to its natural positioning, a chiropractor can help reduce pain and improve overall functioning.

What Method is Right?

Each person’s chronic pain, body, and circumstances are different. What works flawlessly for one person will not necessarily be effective for another. However, there are a few guidelines that are good to remember. If you have a history of addiction, you should avoid the use of opioids and try some alternative methods for managing your pain.

If you’re struggling with alternative methods, you shouldn’t have to deal with your pain just to avoid pharmaceuticals. You might consider getting your pain under control with opioids and then working your way toward healthier options. There is no one correct way to manage pain, but there are several effective ways to manage pain.

Living with chronic pain is difficult, particularly if you want to avoid medication. Opioids can be effective for pain management but also can cause addiction. Alternative treatments can be much better for a healthy lifestyle as well as for avoiding addiction. Remember to always consult your doctor before testing new pain management methods. Though they tend to prescribe opioids, physicians also know what they’re talking about and can be an invaluable resource for seeking alternative methods of managing pain.

Image via Pixabay by frolicsomepl
Article by Jennifer McGregor

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