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Opioid Alternatives for Pain

June 01, 2022

Opioids work well and are usually safe when they are taken as prescribed. Of the risks that can occur with opioid treatment, overdose is the most serious.

If you take opioids regularly for a long time, there is a risk of forming a tolerance or dependence to the medications. When tolerance develops, the body requires increased amounts or frequency to maintain the same desired effect and also increases the risk of forming an addiction. But this is much less common when opioids are taken as directed under the care of a healthcare provider.

There are other options available that may help you manage your pain that does not require you taking prescription opioids.  These alternatives are:

Over the counter (OTC) medications acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil)

  • Physical Therapy and/or Occupational Therapy
  • Injectable medications
  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage Therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy- teaches you how to modify triggers of pain and stress
  • Exercise and weight loss
  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Meditation

Nerve pain, typically experienced as burning, shooting, or stabbing type pains, may actually respond well to antidepressant medications. If you have a condition that causes neuropathic pain, such as diabetes, shingles, or chronic back pain, check with your doctor to discuss this alternative treatment to opioids. 

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