Medication is an important part of managing your chronic pain, and you are likely working with a doctor to make sure that the medications that you are on are sufficient for what you are doing.
That being said, you don’t necessarily have to go on opiates in order to make sure that your chronic pain is under control. There are a number of different types of medications that you can try in order to get your pain under control.
Why Are Opiates Used So Often?
The first thing that is always asked, when pain relief comes up in conversation, is why we even use opiates in the first place.
Some people are cautious about using these sorts of pain relievers in their everyday lives, because they are worried about addiction or they think that it’s going to end up causing them a lot of issues.
Of course, these are all valid things that we have to worry about. The side effects of opioids and the withdrawal symptoms if you go off of them are pretty rough, and if you don’t take care of things well enough, it’s going to be more miserable for you in the long run.
So why are they used so often? Mainly, because what happens is that opiates stop the pain receptors from overreacting. Think about the times that your body has been in pain for any reason.
If you’re dealing with chronic pain, the pain can go on for days and it can disrupt everything that you are trying to deal with in your daily life. That being said, these medications are actually incredibly helpful to the people that are taking them on a regular basis.
They suppress the brain when it perceives pain in any way, and if pain causes you to freak out, it helps you to relax as well. The number of signals that are going from your brain to your body are lessened, and as a result it ends up being a lot easier to take care of the pain.
The side effects of opiates may make people concerned at times, however, and that’s why many people want to find alternatives. Most of the side effects deal with the digestive system (constipation, nausea, etc), but can also include sweating, anxiety, and other issues as well.
That’s why it’s important for us to find out if there are any alternatives to opioids when it comes to pain medication for chronic pain, and which ones are most effective for what you need and what you are looking for from your pain medication.
What Alternatives Are Available?
The good news is, there are a ton of different alternatives that you can consider when you are looking at medications you can take for your chronic pain, and as time goes on, there will likely be more that we can add to this list.
Technology will continue to advance and people will be more likely to figure out effective medications that don’t have as many side effects and/or do not run the risk of addiction alongside taking the pill. Here are some of the most common alternatives that will be prescribed.
Creams and patches. There are a lot of creams and patches that are out there now that you can use in order to try and relieve the chronic pain that you have, especially if it seems to be located in a specific area of the body.
There are a lot of creams out there, and many of them will use capsaicin (yes, the same thing you find in hot peppers), salicylate, eucalyptus oil, camphor, and/or menthol as part of the formula that they are using.
The patches may also contain lidocaine, which is known to help with nerve pain that may be related to shingles and other similar issues. These different types of topical medications go into the skin and help the nerves that are underneath the skin, thus making it easier for you to function and easier for you to figure out ways to deal with the chronic pain.
Medications. There are two very popular medications that are being used instead of opioids, especially for those who may be dealing with chronic pain and have to have surgery of some sort in order to try and deal with it.
One is Celebrex (generic name: celecoxib) and the other is Lyrica. What these two different items do is that they stop the pain impulses that go up to the brain. So yes, they’re doing the same things that the opiods are doing, but at the same time, they’re doing it without the risk of side effects and without the possibility of addiction.
Physical Therapy. Obviously, we’re going to throw in non medication in here as well. Even though physical therapy is not a medication, it can play a significant role in helping us to be able to reduce the pain that we’re feeling in certain areas of the body.
Many times, doctors will recommend physical therapy to do alongside medications, and if you don’t want opioids as part of your treatment plan, physical therapy is likely going to be more necessary to help you deal with and works through the pain.
Obviously, you need a recommendation and referral from your doctor before you can do physical therapy, but it’s known to be a huge help/
So, you don’t necessarily have to worry about taking opiates as a part of your regimen for fighting chronic pain. If you don’t want to take them, or you’re looking for other options, then talk to your doctor about what sorts of things are available for you to try.
You may find alternatives that work well for you and what you need, or you can see what other things you can use in order to keep everything under control. Talk to your doctor to see what the best options are for you and how you can get started on a new regimen.