Detoxing from a pain medication taken for a chronic condition can make you feel nervous. What happens when the medication goes away? Will my pain come back? How will I cope? Fortunately, there are quite a few alternative treatments for pain management available that can help you overcome your pain without opioid medications.
Herbs and supplements only provide moderate relief, but certain all-natural therapies can help you overcome your pain without opioid pain medications. Once you undergo a medically assisted opioid detox, you can apply these methods to handling your chronic pain condition.
Mind-body techniques are therapies that focus on using your mind to ignore the pain, relax the muscles, or control the response to pain. The most common version of this is meditation and visualization. With this technique, you learn how to accept the feelings that are entering your body from the painful area and then to allow your body to relax. With visualization, you can actually transport your mind to a visualized place that encourages relaxation.
Biofeedback is another effective alternative treatment for pain – a technique that has been researched extensively for its use in chronic pain. The muscles are hooked up to a machine that displays their relative tension or relaxation on a screen. The patient looks at the monitor and works to lower the tension in the muscles by impacting the waveform on the screen. In this way, you are able to learn how to control your body’s response to the painful stimuli.
Acupuncture is a centuries-old treatment of chronic pain. It is based on the idea that a life force, known as chi, flows through us in lines called meridians. By needling the lines, the practitioner can unblock the flow of this chi that is causing pain and disease. It may sound a bit out there, but research has shown that there is some promise to this method of treating pain.
Researchers believe that the needling actually increases blood flow and the flow of healing chemical to the site of pain. By bringing these chemicals into contact with the painful area, the body is able to heal itself and the pain will stop. Although the research into this technique is dubious at times, it can be effective when used in conjunction with other non-narcotic methods.
Chiropractic and Massage
Chiropractic is especially helpful for back pain, but it can help with other chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia. Some mistakenly believe that chiropractors “crack the back,” but this is not true. They perform adjustments by realigning segments of the spine, and this results in a decrease of pain. However, chiropractic also employs physical therapy and sports medicine to help decrease pain.
Massage is another possible avenue to consider for chronic pain. Not only does it tend to decrease the tension, anxiety, and stress due to pain conditions, it is another method that mobilizes body chemicals to the site. In addition, it teaches muscles in spasm how to relax, and this is often enough to relieve pain without the use of narcotic pain medications.
Touch Therapy and Reiki as Alternative Treatments for Pain Management
Reiki is the practice of unblocking chakras, or energy centers, in the body through the use of simple touch. Although there is minimal contact between a patient and a practitioner, it has shown some benefit in decreasing chronic pain. This may be due to the relaxing nature of the process. It can help to reduce the stress, depression, and anxiety that come with chronic pain.
It is also thought that Reiki may have a mind-body connection that likens it to visualization practices. More research is needed on therapeutic touch to make any firm recommendations, but when combined with other modalities, it can help to control your pain without the use of narcotic pain medications.