The opioid crisis is spreading across the nation at lightening speed. Many states are cracking down on opioid prescriptions to prevent misuse and over-prescribing medications for pain management.
However, this causes many chronic pain patients to feel confused and mislead regarding their options for treatment and relief from their pain. Chronic pain is a legitimate medical concern. Thanks to the ever-evolving field of pain management, technology is being used to provide patients with treatment options that don’t involve any medication.
Opioids were introduced in the 1600s as a way to treat pain. By the 1800s, ether and chloroform were used by doctors as an anesthetic. However, this triggered doctors to begin questioning the ethics involved in medicating their patients and performing surgery on unconscious patients. Drugs like morphine and heroine didn’t enter the scene until the 1900s.
Pain Management Options for Treating Pain Without Opioids
Unfortunately, many patients still see opioids as their only option when it comes to finding relief from their pain. With the use of technology and new methods of healing and treating pain entering the scene, high-tech options are becoming more and more popular with both patients and their physicians.
HIGH-TECH PAIN MANAGEMENT OPTIONS FOR TREATING PAIN
This technique uses heat to reduce pain by eliminating pain signals to the brain. Patients who suffer from chronic pain in the neck, back, and joints benefit from this type of treatment. It provides immediate relief and the patient is able to return to their regular life and restored quality of life in a short amount of time.
Nerve Block Injections
With the help of imaging, nerve block injections can block pain signals from the brain. Nerve blocks help prevent pain from spreading to other parts of the body, by eliminating the pain signal from the injury to the brain. Different types of nerve blocks can help, depending on the patient’s pain. These injections can be used to determine the source of pain, predict the results of a treatment, or reduce pain from certain conditions.
Stem Cell Therapy
This type of therapy is becoming more and more popular as research becomes more available. Stem cell therapy harnesses the body’s own cells and system to effectively treat diseases and conditions. The patient’s own cells are injected into the affected area, assisting in healing damaged tissue, ligaments, and bone, while potentially decreasing the need for surgery.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
This type of treatment hides the pain before the signal has the chance to reach the brain. A small device is implanted under the skin and sends a mild electrical current to the spinal cord. This signal reduces pain because it modifies the signal and redirects the pain from reaching the brain. Occasionally, patients can feel a slight tingling sensation instead of the pain.
OTHER NON-OPIOID OPTIONS
Physical therapy (PT) is an excellent treatment method for patient who are unable to maintain their quality of life and healthy, active lifestyle because of their pain. PT helps patients by using low-intensity therapies to target specific areas of pain. Physical therapy encourages patients to increase their mobility, build their strength, and restore a high quality of life.
This ancient Chinese method of pain management is oftentimes used to treat neck and back pain, chronic headaches, and pain from osteoarthritis. Acupuncture works by using a needle to stimulate the nerve, sending a signal to the brain to release endorphins that act as the body’s natural opioid. Signaling the nerve that runs from the brain to the colon reduces inflammation and oftentimes reduces the cause of the pain.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Taking OTC pain relievers are not the best long-term way to manage pain, but can help reduce pain symptoms on a daily basis. Many physicians prescribe NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for those suffering chronic pain from osteoarthritis, headaches, or rheumatoid arthritis.
If you suffer from chronic pain, talk to your doctor today about these non-opioid treatment options.