Alternative Pain Management Options

With the burgeoning realization that opiate addiction is virtually an epidemic in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is paying more and more attention to prescribing medical personnel, medical facilities, pharmacies, and patient records. While narcotics when used responsibly are certainly a valuable and valid tool in the arsenal of pain management treatments, they are not the only option. Here's a look at four other options that your physician may decide are appropriate for you.

Pain Medications

There are more than just prescription narcotics available when it comes to managing pain. NSAIDS, (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as the familiar over-the-counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen, can be very useful when taken consistently at the correct dosage.

Some antidepressants and anti-seizure medications also may work well at alleviating pain in some individuals. Some types of pain are worsened by untreated depression, such as those who suffer from fibromyalgia. Anti-seizure medications work well for those with certain types of nerve pain. Sleep problems can also contribute to pain, and older antidepressants are useful with treating insomnia that may exacerbate pain. Steroid injections, like prednisone, are yet another option.

Therapeutic Massage

Neuromuscular massage uses advanced massage techniques to treat chronic pain and pain from nerve disorders. Other massage techniques, such as deep tissue massage is beneficial to other types of pain, such as those resulting from injuries. Massage of the lymph nodes can help people with autoimmune diseases and the associated pain that accompanies them.

Physical Therapy

Occasionally, some types of pain are made worse with movement, but most types of pain respond well to movement, especially of the joints. A physical therapist can work in conjunction with your regular physician to develop a routine that will work best for your situation. Sometimes the exercises are performed in a special pool, with the water reducing the effect of gravity. A sauna can also be a useful pain management tool.

Cognitive Therapy

While pain isn't a matter of being "all in your head," there is an emotional component to it. Psychotherapy can help re-frame the way you look at pain. For example, anxiety over your pain can cause your muscles in your head and shoulders to constrict, making it even harder to deal with. Meditation and prayer can also help the chronic pain sufferer. Learning relaxation techniques can improve the perception of pain as well as lead to acceptance of what can't be changed.

Contact a medical group, like Stellar Family and Occupational Medical Group, for more help.