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How to Manage Pain Without Opioids

By on Mar 28, 2024 in Blog, Drug Addiction

Opioids are a powerful drug noted for their ability to control pain. To do this, they interfere with the way the brain’s opioid receptors function. When opioids attach to these receptors, they can virtually block off any of the pain signals being sent from any of the nerves in the body to the brain, effectively eliminating the pain a person feels. That is an incredibly important benefit in situations where a person is dealing with intense pain due to severe injury.

Yet, opioids also target the pleasure sensors in the brain. They cause a large amount of dopamine to move through the body, creating a sense of euphoria that can lead to the development of addiction and dependency. As the person’s tolerance for the drug increases, they will need to take more of it to achieve that high feeling. This increases the risk of overdose.

You Need to Manage Pain

The problem is finding a way to alleviate pain without creating addiction and dependence. Opioids may be necessary in the immediate aftermath of a surgery or severe injury, but they are intended for short-term use. If pain becomes chronic, other options must be considered. Also, if you are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, you will want to avoid opioid medications altogether. In these cases, be clear with your doctor about your situation and your concerns; let them suggest an alternative approach.

It is a downright scary thought to realize that you cannot use the one thing that gives you relief. You may even find that your pain is so bad that you cannot work or do the things you enjoy as a result. The key to remember here is that, eventually, opioids will not work, and at that point, you could be facing a life-threatening addiction.

Fortunately, a number of alternative pain treatment options may be able to help you manage the pain and increase your sense of well-being.

Methods for Reducing Pain Without Opioids

You can both safely and effectively manage most pain with the use of non-opioid medications and therapies. Your doctor or a pain management specialist can help you find the treatment options that work best in your particular situation. Here are some common approaches:

  • Basic Pain Treatment

In some situations, once you work through opioid medication detox and withdrawal, you may find your pain is less than you realized or a bit easier to deal with. This is because opioid addiction changes the way you experience pain and pleasure; because the brain craves more of the drug, it will, in a sense, manufacture pain so that you continue to take the drug. 

Talk to your doctor about the use of over-the-counter medications or topical ointments. These may help in some situations. Injection therapy for pain relief may also offer some treatment.

  • Physical Therapy

If you have a significant injury or a chronic condition, physical therapy may offer some relief. The goal of physical therapy is to improve the function of the limbs and joints, creating the proper movement, supporting muscle growth, and reducing nerve impaction.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a very unique way of stimulating your body’s immune system to encourage healing and pain management. It involves the placement of very fine needles in specific areas of your body to improve energy flow and decrease inflammation.

  • Exercise and Movement

It may not seem logical to move the area of your body that hurts, but movement helps break up the scar tissue that’s developed. Exercise can also help to reduce inflammation. Choose a method that you enjoy, such as stretching, swimming, or brisk walking. 

  • Get to the Source of the Problem

Pain medications treat the symptoms, but they do not cure the underlying problem. Work with your doctor or a holistic team to try to get to the bottom of what is causing your pain. Sometimes, surgeries, physical therapy, and rehabilitation can heal the source of the pain. 

Know When to Get Help for Addiction Treatment

As an opioid addiction treatment center in Lafayette, LA, Victory Addiction Recovery Center is committed to helping those struggling with addiction. If you need help, or if you cannot imagine life without the pain relief that opioids offer, contact us. Let us offer strategies that will not only protect your life but also restore your function and well-being.

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