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Alternatives to Opioids for Pain Relief

Over the last decade, we have seen a dramatic increase in opiate painkiller abuse in the United States. In fact, an estimated 2.1 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers, while approximately 25.3 million are struggling with chronic pain.

Although prescribed opiates are effective in relieving pain, they can have severe, life-threatening consequences on those who develop an addiction to them. …Which begs the big question: Are there any suitable alternatives to opioids for pain relief?

What Can Help Relieve My Pain?

Indeed, there are many other options which may not have occurred to you for relieving severe pain. Depending on the severity of your pain, these include:

ACETAMINOPHEN

This is the active ingredient in Tylenol and a proven effective pain reliever for many kinds of pain. It is recommended as an initial treatment method by the American College of Rheumatology. Too much acetaminophen can affect the liver, however.

NON-STEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS (NSAIDS)

More potent than acetaminophen, yet also available in an OTC (over-the-counter) dosage such as Aleve or Advil, NSAIDs are very effective in quelling mild to moderate pain. NSAIDs not only reduce pain, but also inflammation. Higher doses are available with a prescription. The issue with NSAIDs is the risk of organ toxicity, kidney failure, and ulcers in older patients.

CORTICOSTEROIDS

Steroids target and temporarily relieve pain in injured nerves. However, possible side effects include immune system suppression, gastrointestinal problems, accelerated joint damage, and psychiatric effects.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS

These include serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, which treat nerve, muscular, and skeletal pain without the side effects of opioids. They also help you sleep.

NEUROSTIMULATION

Used for back, neck, arm, or leg pain, this is a treatment in which implanted electrodes interrupt nerve signals of pain before they reach the brain, so pain is not felt.

ANTICONVULSANTS

Although typically used to treat epilepsy, these medications can also suppress pain signals to the brain to relieve neuropathic pain.

NERVE, TRIGGER POINT, AND EPIDURAL INJECTIONS

These injections are used to treat everything from arthritis and injury pain to muscle pain and headaches.

PHYSICAL THERAPY

This form of treatment is often necessary to relieve pain over the long term and to improve one’s physical healing.

LOW-IMPACT EXERCISE

This helps improve mobility and functionality in those with chronic back pain, joint pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.

MASSAGE, ACUPUNCTURE, AND CHIROPRACTIC CARE

Not only are these methods just as effective as medication for some pain sufferers, but they’re also safe and usually have no side effects.

Pain Relief Medication Options

Lynx Healthcare recognizes that there are significant risks associated with opioid therapy. We make your health and safety our top priority, and we will consider the best options in treating your pain.

Not only do we carefully consider federal guidelines and recommendations regarding the prescription and administration of these medications, but we perform a comprehensive and individualized evaluation for each patient to ascertain the most appropriate treatment plan.

For certain patients, it may not be appropriate to prescribe opioid medications. So, before deciding to initiate opioid therapy, we evaluate whether the patient has tried and failed lower-risk treatments.

We consider the patient’s specific pain history along with their medical history to anticipate possible complications with opioids. Finally, various medical tools and tests help us ensure that the patient will use these medications safely.

Medical Clinics in Washington and Oregon

To learn more about treatments for chronic pain, make an appointment at one of our Lynx Healthcare clinics across Washington State and Oregon.

Call us today at (509) 591-0070, or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you lead a more active, pain-free, enjoyable lifestyle.

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