Managing pain can be a very difficult process when removing pain-relieving substances from your routine. Pain-relieving medications can be prescribed for a variety of issues such as chronic pain and injuries of any kind. Often these substances are prescribed by doctors with the intended goal to be used temporarily—until the pain is manageable.
However, it is not uncommon for substance dependency to occur after long-term use of any kind of opioids or alcohol use. In fact, a reported 20 million people in the U.S. have a substance abuse disorder. With so many people dependent upon these very strong pain-relieving substances, how do you safely and effectively wean and remove these substances out of your routine altogether?
Is It Possible To Treat And Manage Pain Without Feeding An Addiction?
After suffering from chronic pain for years or coping with a recent injury, the use of opioids might feel like a relief or blessing after enduring ongoing pain for an extended period of time. While it may offer temporary pain relief, the use of opioids can create substance dependency.
A shift in treating pain has become increasingly more important. Rather than treating the pain, treat the root issue of the pain. Frequently when expressing to a general practitioner a throbbing sensation in your shoulder or experiencing headaches often throughout the day, you are met with a prescribed drug that alleviates pain or reduces headaches. Yes, this may remove the annoyance of regular headaches or aching muscles, but it does not treat the underlying issue causing these bodily reactions.
Holistic pain management is not devoid of modern medicine or necessary surgical interventions. Rather, holistic pain management focuses on physical and occupational therapy, spiritual wellness, and internal processing.
Substance use disorders are complex and typically involve an individual suffering from very real debilitating chronic pain and health issues. It is possible to treat pain without feeding a present addiction; prioritizing other pain-relieving practices can help reduce pain while eliminating the use of substances in your routine altogether. Weaning off of prescribed opioids can be a lengthy, difficult process, and it is recommended you speak with a health professional before beginning the weaning process. Other pain-relieving measures that can be taken to reduce pain substantially include:
1. Chiropractic Treatment
For centuries, chiropractic practices have been used as a non-invasive, topical approach used to reduce and remove physical ailments of all kinds and illnesses. Chiropractors use either their hands or small instruments to apply a sudden force or pressure on a patient’s spinal cord or joints to treat an issue. Those who suffer from inflammation, muscle tension, arthritis, and whiplash, can largely benefit from regular adjustments.
This age-old traditional Chinese healing practice involves the careful insertion of thin, small needles into specific joints and muscles in the body. This ancient process is typically used for those suffering from substance abuse disorders, myofascial pain, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and more.
3. Stress Reduction Therapy
Living with debilitating pain can be emotionally exhausting and stressful. Pain-relieving practices such as yoga have been known to release tension and reduce pain for those suffering from fibromyalgia, arthritis, back pain, and neck pain. Other stress-reducing practices include hypnosis, music therapy, guided imagery, and biofeedback.
Exercise has been known to boost energy and mood exponentially when implemented as a daily practice. It has also been known to help alleviate chronic pain. Physical activity has a plethora of benefits, of which reducing chronic pain is one. Before starting any regular exercise regimen, contact your doctor to determine the best course of action for you.
5. Herbal Remedies
Herbal tinctures, salves, ointments, and oils have been used to treat every illness and cause of pain for centuries. Perhaps one of the oldest medicinal practices is herbal treatments. The use of herbs daily to reduce pain can look like a cup of turmeric tea, a spice known to help reduce pain for those suffering from osteoarthritis, or a tablespoon of a feverfew tincture to help remove any headaches or migraines. Herbal remedies are a wonderful, natural alternative to reducing pain of any kind.
While some pain-relieving alternatives won’t work for everyone, many of these alternatives provide pain relief without the risk of substance dependency. These natural alternatives are certainly methods that can help aid in your chronic pain treatment without further deepening any substance use disorder.
What Is Risky About Treatment For Pain?
Pain treatment is a popular topic of discussion in the medical field due to the increase of opioid misuse in America. The risk of substance use disorders has increased significantly due to the lack of screening beforehand on the individuals prescribed these highly addictive substances.
Proper screening practices are pertinent for determining whether or not an individual is at risk or not in misusing any kind of prescribed opioid. When examined correctly, doctors will provide a urine drug screening, physical examination, and a statewide prescription monitoring program that allows doctors to see prior prescription and non-prescription drug use.
These examinations are so important because of the risks involved with strong opioids. These medications can trigger addiction, but also respiratory depression, nausea, constipation, and more. With so many adverse side effects and the potential risk of developing a substance use disorder, finding a natural alternative to reduce pain is a much more reliable option that will give you peace of mind and hopefully relief.
Opioid Risks in Substance Abuse Recovery
Long-term opioid therapy is a sure way to create a substance use disorder. Opioids have been a pervasive substance in America in the past decade and have continued to be the leading cause of injury death in America. Patients suffering from nonmalignant pain can be challenging due to the fact that opioids are extremely potent analgesics. Finding medical alternatives to treat chronic pain are highly suggested. It is important to recognize the risk factors of using any kind of opioid, even for a short length of time, due to its highly addictive nature.
What Is the Most Commonly Used Medication in Pain Management?
NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and acetaminophen are the most commonly used medications to treat mild to moderate pain for patients. These options are far less addictive and don’t have the same addictive nature as opioids do. However, those who suffer from more severe chronic pain are often prescribed opioids like oxycodone, morphine, or hydrocodone for serious pain removal. These substances are only intended for short-term use; however, that is not always the case.
Educating patients who have been prescribed opioids currently and have since developed a substance use disorder should know recovery is possible with:
- Peer support
- Pain management programs
- Treatment programs
- Recovery community centers
Substance use recovery is a long road that requires dedication and candidacy. Proper medical examination should be present when weaning or removing opioids from your routine. It is important to have support when going through the recovery process. It is not an easy road, but it is a necessary one when using these potent substances improperly.
Education is key in reducing the stigma and confusion behind opioid use. There are many practical reasons a patient is prescribed an opioid. Unfortunately, due to opioids’ pervasive nature, it is not uncommon for many people to develop these substance use disorders, sometimes unexpectedly and rapidly. Having clear screenings and medical examinations prior to any written prescriptions is absolutely necessary. It is also important to educate patients about the risks of opioid use even when examined and deemed safe to use. Having access to recovery resources, support groups, and regular medical screenings can help prevent opioid misuse.
How Can I Treat My Pain If Opioids Are Off-Limits?
Pain management in addiction recovery is an essential component in the recovery process. Having access to healthy coping mechanisms and pain-relieving strategies will help remove triggers associated with chronic pain. Creating a list of management strategies will not only help an individual suffering through active addiction but additionally substance use recovery.
These strategies consist of:
- Regular, witnessed drug screenings. Testing should occur at one month, three months, and six months if pain management has discontinued entirely. An individual who has failed to show up to their annual drug screening is considered a ‘positive’ test and thus is forced to begin their treatment from the start again. This provides accountability to people and encourages people to abstain.
- Ongoing peer support. Weekly or bi-weekly meetings with accountability partners can help remove addiction episodes and reduce the risk of relapse.
- Attending regular therapy. Many of the issues associated with addiction are largely influenced by psychological factors. Regular visitation with a clinically certified therapist can help alleviate depressive episodes and furthermore increase accountability.
- Consider professional treatment. In many cases, treatment facilities are what it takes to become substance-free. More often than not, the outside world can be a distracting, tempting, and triggering place. Treatment centers are always an alternative for safely and efficiently weaning off any kind of unhealthy substance in the body.
How Does Pain Interfere With Recovery?
Chronic pain is different from acute pain due to the fact that it sticks around longer than just a couple of weeks or months. Chronic pain normally lasts longer than six months and attacks the central nervous system. Furthermore, muscle memory is what often triggers pain, even when there may be no painful situations taking place. Because of this, chronic pain can be a difficult hurdle when recovering from any kind of substance use disorder.
A normal backache to you might be a debilitating memory of the origin in an individual’s fight with chronic pain. This feeling can be a huge setback to those suffering from withdrawal symptoms and can ultimately trigger some to relapse.
There are many alternative methods to pain relief than just prescription drugs. The process may require more dedication and consistency, but it is well worth the freedom from substance misuse.
Proper Treatment, a Managed Aftercare Program and Non-Opioid Pain Relief Can Help Recovering Individuals Stay Substance Free
Today there is more of an emphasis on pre-screening and patient examinations for prescription opioids. Over the years, opioids were freely prescribed without considering the serious side effects of developing addictions to those more prone.
This fact has caused nearly two decades of substance use disorder deaths to skyrocket in America. It is vitally important today that we educate people about the seriousness of opioids and encourage those needing pain relief to research alternative pain-relieving measures.
Having access to proper treatment and aftercare for any kind of substance abuse disorder can help you recover safely and for good. Accountability, support, community, and therapy are just some of the components that can help decrease setbacks and relapsing.
Finding the right physical and occupational therapy and other pain-relieving practices can greatly impact the body’s ability to cope and remain free of harsh substances like opioids. Having a positive state of mind, too, can additionally help increase weaning success. Mindfulness and mediation have been proven to reduce anxiety and stress, as well as those suffering from long-term chronic pain.
Find Substance Use Disorder Help at the Magnolia Recovery Care
The journey to sobriety can be a long, difficult journey. However, being addiction free is an incredibly liberating experience anyone suffering from a substance abuse disorder deserves to feel. Our fully licensed and professional staff at the Magnolia Recovery Care Center is dedicated to the safety, confidentiality, and compassionate individual care for those seeking recovery that can last a lifetime. Our fully inclusive and shame-free environment set in a beautiful and peaceful resort-like setting is a uniquely effective option for detox and residential care. Our commitment to affordable treatment is rooted in science and has proven to be effective. It is accessible to anyone. We sincerely welcome all to our incredibly peaceful home for holistic, healthy, and effective recovery.