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Holistic Alternatives to Opioids for Chronic Pain

Oct 10, 2021

With a high risk of becoming addicted to opioids, an emphasis on holistic alternatives to treating chronic pain is becoming increasingly important. Developing a substance use disorder from even short-term opioid use is possible, in people with other forms of SUDs and people with no prior substance use issues.

Finding safe and healthy ways to manage chronic pain is an option that should be explored, especially for people with prior addiction issues. Today, we’ll introduce some alternatives worth checking out.

The high risk of developing an addiction to opioids with even short-term use is the reason alternatives to using those prescription medications are highly recommended. For people with existing substance use disorders, learning to manage chronic pain without medication is important.

When treatment is needed, patients should look for a program specializing in opioid addiction with an introduction to alternative pain management therapies. Those therapies may include mindfulness-based approaches, lifestyle interventions, acceptance commitment therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Living with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain affects a large percentage of the population in America. More than 20 percent of adults live with some form of it. The toll it takes on a person is both physical and mental. It can come from a variety of sources, too.

An underlying disease can cause chronic pain. It may follow a medical treatment or begin after an injury. Ongoing inflammation can be a factor as well.

The Danger of Prescription Opioids

Opioids are routinely prescribed for patients with chronic pain. Careful assessment of a dosage as well as a period of time to take the medication are part of helping a patient avoid becoming dependent on it. But, it is still possible to develop a substance use disorder after taking opioids for several days.

One reason for the risk can come from the focus on the medication as the only form of pain management. Taking a pill as needed can become a default setting for a person with pain. It’s quick and easy and delivers a feeling of euphoria. That may make it hard to resist taking, even as the pain may have diminished.

Exploring other pain management techniques is recommended in place of prescription opioids or alongside them immediately as the medication begins to be administered.

Once an addiction to prescription opioids has begun, it’s important to seek treatment immediately. It’s not a type of drug you will be able to quit on your own.  Treatment can involve a stay at a residential facility, including individual and group therapy.

The Alternatives to Chronic Pain Management

Becoming aware of the holistic alternatives to opioids for chronic pain management can precede the need for drug rehab or can be a part of a long-term recovery from opioid addiction. Patients may need to use more than one approach while working on their recovery. You’ll want to check with your preferred treatment resources to see which ones are available.

Cognitive behavioral therapy: A person with chronic pain can learn how to recognize their own thought patterns and how they’re related to opioid use. By learning these patterns, they can become aware of how to challenge their routine ways of thinking. This type of therapy can help free them to develop new ways to view their chronic pain issues.

Lifestyle interventions: In this type of treatment, a person actively makes changes to a variety of areas of their life to see what works to lessen their pain. One change could be related to their diet and nutrition.

For example, switching to foods with antioxidant properties can serve as an anti-inflammatory and reduce the return of painful flare-ups. Participating regularly in recreational activities and social time with friends are other lifestyle choices that can ease chronic pain.

Mindfulness-based approaches: A person with chronic pain learns mindfulness skills, such as self-acceptance, reaffirming intentions, and strengthening self-regulation, as a way to accept how they feel in a given moment. Practicing meditation daily is another form of a mindfulness approach.

Acceptance commitment therapy: A person with chronic pain can learn how to detach from the unhelpful thought pattern that kept them using opioids. Through retraining the focus on their energy, they can begin to devote time to healthy and satisfying activities.

HeadWaters at Origins is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.

For information on our programs, call us today: 844-439-2837.

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