As we are well aware, countless victims of the heroin epidemic started their path of addiction with legitimate prescriptions for pain-relieving drugs. Chronic pain is a condition that affects more Americans than the sum of those with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and is one of the most common causes of people having to go on long-term disability, affecting nearly every area of their lives. But what happens when the most commonly utilized solution for this is a gateway to a much bigger problem?
Chronic Pain and Addiction Statistics
The American Society for Addiction Medicine cited evidence in a 2016 news release, that 1.9 million Americans aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers. In 2014, there were 18,893 overdose deaths related to these same drugs. Further, 4 out of 5 heroin addicts started with prescription painkillers, and 94% of respondents in a 2014 survey said that their heroin use was a result of expense/difficulty in obtaining prescription opioids (http://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf). While many do need these prescriptions, it is clear that there has been overprescribing in the past, and non-pharmaceutical solutions for pain management and relief may have been overlooked in favor of the ease of just writing a prescription. Now that doctors are becoming aware of the risk of prescribing opioid painkillers, it is important to consider alternative options for patients suffering from chronic pain. Here are some non-drug options that have been proven to help relieve chronic pain.
- Hypnotherapy. During hypnotherapy, the patient is placed into a meditative state, where conscious thought slips away and the focus is on relaxation. A 1996 National Institutes of Health panel concluded that hypnosis was effective in alleviating cancer pain. Hypnosis has also been found to be helpful in easing pain from burns and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Yoga. Yoga itself was designed for and is practiced in order to increase strength and promote physical, mental, and emotional health. Yoga has been shown to relieve pain from conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and osteoporosis. In addition to this, yoga’s benefits on mental and emotional health have been well-documented.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture involves needles, heat, pressure, and other treatments being applied to certain areas of the skin. Acupuncture activates the body’s own self-healing mechanisms, and has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic pain conditions such as back/neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain.
- Massage. Not only can massage directly address sites of pain in the body, but it also promotes mental and physical relaxation, which can ease pain that stems from stress and anxiety. Massage has been shown to be effective in treating arthritis, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and other chronic diseases.
- Chiropractic Care. Chiropractors attempt to correct the body and spine’s alignment, with the ultimate goal of pain relief and promotion of self-healing. While most research has demonstrated the efficacy of chiropractic care for back pain, it has also been shown to relieve migraine, neck pain, whiplash, musculoskeletal pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
- Herbal Medicine. Many herbal supplements have proven and targeted pain relief benefits, and may be a helpful supplement in a non-narcotic pain management regimen. Some of these supplements include turmeric, devil’s claw root, capscium, comfrey, glucosamine, chondroitin, boswellia, caffeine, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Help for Painkiller Addiction
If you or someone you know is suffering from prescription painkiller addiction, inpatient treatment may be your way out. Call the professionals at Serenity Acres today for your free confidential assessment: 1-800-203-2024.