The use of opioids for treating pain is continuing to be questioned and evaluated by medical professionals. Concerns of addiction and overuse have caused great interest from medical professionals as well as patients for controlling pain. Fortunately, this has dramatically increased awareness of the multiple alternatives to opioids available to control pain.
Non-Opioid Prescription Pain Medication
Pain treatment with opioid medications is very successful in treating cancer pain, palliative care pain, and pain for hospice patients. Other types of pain are successfully controlled with effective non-opioid prescription drugs. Some examples of these drugs that have been used to control pain are:
- Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs);
- Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs);
- Gabapentin/ pregabalin;
- Anti-seizure medications;
- Anti-nausea medications.
Chronic Pain Meds That Do Not Require A Prescription
Pain medications that are readily available and do not require a prescription are extremely helpful in controlling many types of pain. Patients that use over-the-counter medications to control pain can be successful when placed on a pain regimen instead of opioid medications for some specific types of pain. Opioids should not always be the initial treatment for managing pain. Short term use of opioids, then shifting to over the counter medication, is very useful in managing pain such as post-surgical pain and chronic pain meds. These medications include:
- Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Alternative Ways For Treating Pain
Treating and managing pain for the long term can be challenging. Non-pharmacological pain medication, along with other methods for pain control, can be a successful way to avoid long term pain medication. Experimenting with alternative ways to control pain may help in reducing or stopping the use of pain medication. Alternating from one form of treatment to another is often successful in controlling certain types of pain. Some of the successful pain control alternatives are:
- Exercise along with weight loss.
- Topical pain relief creams and ointments.
- Assistive devices that relieve pressure. Examples are braces, walkers, and canes.
- Massage and hydrotherapy.
- Yoga and mind-body exercise.
- Alternating cold and heat therapy.
Assistance With Managing Chronic Pain
Managing chronic pain is challenging and can be frustrating when trying to find the right medication and alternative method for the best total pain control. Professionals that are trained and experienced in treating patients with chronic pain can be the best source in creating pain diagnostics, spine treatment plan and recognizing when a plan needs changing for maximum pain control. Primary care providers can refer patients to medical professionals experienced in treating pain without the use of opioids. These medical professionals can include:
- Physical Therapists
- Occupational Therapists
- Behavioral Therapists
- Nutritional Therapy
Alternative methods to control pain are becoming more accepted by medical providers as the medical community tries to assist patients in ways to manage pain without the use of opioid medications. Pain management providers have the expertise to support patients in finding the best plan to control pain.