Managing chronic pain without medication can be difficult. For some, avoiding medications is a personal choice, while others need to abstain for medical or prior addiction-related reasons. Whatever the case may be, if you’re looking to manage your chronic pain without the use of medications, you may be surprised to know that doing so can be easier than you think. There are many different approaches to managing chronic pain without medication, all of which can be done safely, and with relatively little change to your daily life. Below, we’ll take a look at three easy ways to manage your chronic without medication.
Why Managing Chronic Pain Without Medication Can Be Beneficial
There are several benefits to managing chronic pain without medication. For one, not having to remember to take pills several times a day is a huge selling point for many people with chronic pain. Additionally, many conditions can make it difficult for someone to swallow pills. Dysphagia is a condition that can make swallowing difficult, including tablets or pills. Other conditions like dry mouth or pharmacophobia (fear of pills) can also make taking medication difficult.
For others, the upside of managing chronic pain without medication may be avoiding certain negative side effects that accompany certain medications. Some of those common side effects may include things like:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach irritation
- Increased risk of organ damage
- Weight gain caused by hormone imbalances
Managing chronic pain without medication may also be a necessity for those who may not be able to afford certain medications, or whose insurance may not cover the cost. While this may not be a benefit for many, for some, ditching their medications may be a way to save a little extra money.
Whatever the case may be, the best treatment option for managing chronic pain is the one that works for you. Treatment options will vary depending on your pain, what causes it, and what treatments you have access to. In some cases, especially when non-medication treatments aren’t successful, medication is the best option. That said, there are ways you can manage your chronic pain without medications.
Below, we’ll take a look at three easy ways you can manage your chronic pain without medications. These options may not work for everyone, but can be done with little changes to your daily life.
Three Ways to Manage Chronic Pain Without Medication
If you’re looking to start managing your chronic pain without medication, you may not know where to start. The first step is to talk with your doctor, as they can help you determine whether medication is necessary, or if you can start weaning yourself off. Once you’ve done that, you can start looking for alternative treatments. These will all vary depending on your pain, condition, physical aptitude, and accessibility. Below we’ll take a look at the three most common ways you can start managing chronic pain without medication.
While there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to managing chronic pain without medication, many experts agree that physical therapy is highly effective. Stretching and strengthening muscles with the help of a physical therapist not only relieves pain but can prevent it from coming back. Going to physical therapy can also help improve your overall muscle functioning, which can reduce your risk of injury in the long term.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, physical therapists teach patients self-management skills. When it comes to chronic pain, the most common ailments that physical therapists see include:
- Back and neck pain
- Hip or joint pain
- Injuries such as slipped or herniated disks
- Plantar fasciitis
For many people, physical therapy can be an extremely effective way to manage your chronic pain without medications. However, physical therapy alone may not always be a solution to pain management. In cases of arthritis, for example, most doctors see immune-modulating drugs as the first choice of treatment, and physical therapy as an adjunct.
If you’re looking for a physical therapist, it is important to first find out whether your health care plan covers visits. Next, talk with your doctor to find someone who is licensed to practice in your state. Your doctor may also recommend finding a therapist who has experience in dealing with your particular condition.
For many, when thinking of managing chronic pain without medication, exercise is likely one of the last things that come to mind. However, research has shown that regular, gentle exercise can help you recover when in pain. For many years, the treatment choice for chronic pain included recommendations for rest and inactivity. However, exercise may have specific benefits in reducing the severity of chronic pain, as well as more general benefits associated with improved overall physical and mental health, and physical functioning.
Physical activity and exercise programs are increasingly being promoted by healthcare professionals for a variety of chronic pain conditions. Depending on your current state of health, exercise may help decrease inflammation, increase your mobility, and decrease your overall pain levels, all without the need for medication.
Some of the more common recommendations for physical exercise include:
- Light cardiovascular exercises such as brisk walking, swimming, or water aerobics
- Stretching exercises
- Strength training (weight lifting)
If exercise is right for you, it can be a great way to start managing chronic pain without medication. For those with joint problems, avoid high-impact activities such as running, jumping, landing, shifting, or changing directions frequently.
Chronic pain is not only a physical ailment but a mental one too. The burden of chronic pain can be enough to cause many people to suffer from frequent stress, depression, or other mental conditions. There is a strong connection in the brain between stress and pain. This connection is so strong, that the two may even play off each other, causing the symptoms of each to worsen.
Finding healthy ways to cope with the pressures of everyday life can help you gain peace of mind and control of your symptoms. For many, this comes by way of stress management or other types of mental health care therapies.
Stress is a major psychological factor that intensifies the pain. When you become stressed, your muscles become tense and may aggravate an existing issue. Emotionally, this pressure may amplify your perception of pain, which can cause you to interpret your situation as being more difficult, and may even make you avoid certain types of activities.
To combat this added pressure, doctors recommend trying to change the source of stress. For example, if you find yourself always arguing with a certain coworker, it may be best to try and avoid communicating with them, or talking with your boss to change your work hours.
If changing the source of stress isn’t possible, try distracting yourself with enjoyable activities such as spending time with friends, watching a movie, or listening to music. Participating in something pleasurable may shift focus away from pain.
While stress management may be an effective way of managing chronic pain without medication, it may not be a sure-fire solution for everyone. Always talk to your doctor about what treatments are right for you before ditching your medications.
Bottom Line on Managing Chronic Pain Without Medication
It’s important to keep in mind that while, for some, managing chronic pain without medication is possible, and can make a huge difference in their lives. However, this method of pain management is not for everyone. If you’re looking for a way to manage your chronic pain without medication, talk with your doctor about what options are available. Alternative treatments for pain are widely available, and new ones are being developed each year. Whether it’s physical therapy, yoga, acupuncture, or another route, managing chronic pain without medication is within reach.
In other instances, your pain may be so severe that ending a medication regimen is simply out of the question. Medications not only help you battle pain, but they can also make every task easier to perform. Certain conditions make managing chronic pain without medication impossible, as things like physical therapy or other similar treatments can make your pain worse.
So, what’s the bottom line on managing chronic pain without medication? The simple answer is to talk with your doctor. While weaning off medication can have its benefits, it may not always outweigh the cons.
How Do You Feel About Managing Chronic PainWithout Medication?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
What topics related to chronic pain should we cover next?
Email us your ideas at email@example.com
Want to connect with other chronic pain warriors?