Modern medicine offers an array of powerful opioid painkillers to those who struggle with chronic pain. As effective as well-known names like Vicodin, Demerol, Percocet and OxyContin are, they aren’t safe to use for pain that lasts any longer than a couple of days. As narcotics, they come with risk of addiction. It’s a well-publicized problem, as many Hollywood stars have fallen prey.
If you suffer from a painful condition but don’t want to mess with dangerous chemicals, what else can you turn to for help?
A number of therapeutic options exist. While they aren’t as dependable as opioid prescriptions, they do work in different degrees for different individuals. If you’re willing to invest in experimenting a little, chances are excellent that you could come upon a therapeutic approach that works for you.
Therapy is administered with thin needles inserted into specific nerve points around the body. The technique works well for some individuals who struggle with painful conditions of the knees, the lower back and the neck.
While the idea of choosing marijuana in place of narcotics may seem odd, it does make sense. Marijuana helps by equipping the brain to ignore pain. It does come with pleasurable effects; nevertheless it isn’t addictive the way opioids are, especially when used under medical supervision. If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, you should consult a doctor about trying a prescription.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is not exactly an alternative practice; it is well within the mainstream as a therapeutic approach aimed at various psychological conditions. It is considered “alternative,” however, when used for pain management. When CBT is applied to pain, the therapist coaches the patient in psychological skills that help bring about a feeling of greater self-control. Such an effect can help with painful conditions ranging from arthritis to headaches and back pain.
Not long ago, hypnotherapy was considered useful as little more than entertainment at magic shows. Today, it is recommended by some doctors for several difficult, painful conditions such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and headaches.
Massage therapy works by helping the body generate chemical and electrical signals that block pain. Massage can also help release painfully trapped nerves. From neuromuscular massage to trigger point massage and deep tissue massage, a number of approaches exist to using soft tissue manipulation for painful conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. When administered by a skilled therapist, these methods can be truly effective for long-term pain management.
The Eastern discipline of yoga can be immensely effective as a pain-relief method in some people. Whether you struggle with migraines, lower back pain or arthritic knees, the practice of yoga can be an effective pain management approach. It’s important, however, to truly understand the discipline, and find a practitioner with genuine expertise. With yoga, incorrect technique can lead to aggravation of painful conditions.
Other approaches exist – chiropractic manipulation, aromatherapy and homeopathy, among others.
When dealing with alternative medicine, it’s important to go in with an open mind, and intent to learn and experiment. It’s crucial to remember that not everything works for everyone. When you do find something that works, however, the experience can be transformative.