If you want to avoid using opiates for long-term pain relief, you are not alone. The addictive nature of opiates has become more apparent in recent years, and this has made many patients, along with their doctors, wary of using them for more than a few days at a time. But what does that mean for your pain? Luckily, it does not mean you need to suffer in silence. Here are some alternative pain relief options to explore.
You're probably familiar with NSAIDS even if you do not realize it. This acronym stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. The most common ones sold over-the-counter are ibuprofen and naproxen. Since they alleviate inflammation as well as pain (and a lot of pain is actually the result of inflammation), they can be surprisingly effective, particularly when you take them every day. Your doctor may recommend a dose that is higher than what the over-the-counter bottle recommends. Only take this larger dose if your doctor specifically recommends it. There are some possible side effects, such as stomach irritation, but NSAIDS are not addictive.
A lot of people have begun to use CBD for pain relief. It's a substance derived from hemp or marijuana, and it is known for its pain relieving properties. It does not make you feel high, and it is legal in all 50 states. If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, you may want to look into using cannabis products that contains some THC, too. This can enhance the pain relieving effects for some patients.
Acupuncture was once seen as an alternative medical practice that did not have a lot of merit, but it has become more accepted by the general medical community over the past few years — especially when used for pain relief. Acupuncture involves inserting tiny needles at specific points along the body. These needles are said to re-direct the chi, or vital energy, but the more modern understanding is that they alter the nerve impulses associated with pain. An acupuncture session every week or two can help keep your pain and any associated stress under control, regardless of the root cause.
If you don't want to use opiates for long-term pain relief, you're not alone. Look into the alternatives above, and discuss each of them with your doctor. Some patients even benefit from employing a combination of these tactics.