More Americans suffer from chronic pain than heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined, and it is also the number one reason for long-term disability. Chronic pain, by definition, is any pain that last three months or longer. According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, in 2015 a third of the American population use some type of opioid for treatment. Commonly prescribed opioids for pain management are codeine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, and methadone.
Opioid use is becoming such an epidemic in the United States that on October 26th, our president requested the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to use some of its funding to fight opioid use. There are several ways for you to do your part to reduce your contribution to the opioid epidemic, including trying the following pain management alternatives.
- CHIROPRACTIC CARE: The spine is the core of your body and if something is wrong with the spine, then the effects it has can reach to all parts of your body and pain is one of the most common manifestations of spinal issues. When the spine is corrected and sits in its proper alignment, the central nervous system is able to properly function and respond to issues throughout the body. Many times, the hip and legs twist to compensate for the misaligned vertebrae, which can cause pain and discomfort. Most of our clients who come to us for pain management find relief after their first correction. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself and chiropractic care only helps pave the way for it to do so.
- MASSAGE: Some of the pain that is treated through opioid use is the pain manifested in the muscular and ligature structure of the body. A massage helps to reduce the tension that is built up in the muscles and reduces pain caused as a result. Full body massages can also help to relax and calm the mind, creating an addition psychological effect that can reduce the need for strong opioids.
- EXERCISE: Exercise will always provide numerous benefits for your body and health; however, the reason exercising has made this list is for more than just to encourage you to be healthy. When you exercise, your body releases a chemical called endorphins which have a similar effect on your body as morphine does. Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain by numbing them to pain and trigger a positive feeling throughout the body.
- NATURAL PAIN MEDICINE: Instead of numbing your mind and body with strong prescription chemicals, opt for natural herbs that are known for their anti-inflammatory and pain reducing properties. By consuming natural remedies, you are reducing your risk of building a tolerance to prescription pain killers – which can lead you down a terrible road of addiction. Easy to find natural pain killers are:
- Willow Bark
- Cats Claw
- Valerian Root