Chronic pain can be debilitating, preventing you not only from doing the things you love but also from enjoying the things you love. If you are suffering from chronic pain, your doctor may prescribe an opiate medication, but with all of the trouble with opiate addiction going on these days, it makes sense if you are hesitant to take it. Thankfully, there are some effective, non-opiate options for managing chronic pain. Ask your doctor about these alternatives to see whether they're right for you.
You've probably heard of NSAIDS. They're a class of pain relievers that work by alleviating inflammation, which means they tend to have a therapeutic benefit rather than just masking pain. NSAIDS available over-the-counter include naproxen and ibuprofen. If you've taken these over-the-counter drugs and they have not effectively managed your pain, you might have written off NSAIDS as an option, but it's worth having a conversation with your doctor in this regard. There are prescription formulations of NSAIDS that are stronger and may manage your pain more effectively. And while they do come with some risks, such as stomach irritation, those risks are much less serious than those associated with opiates.
The idea of taking antidepressants for pain management may sound strange at first, but it actually works well for many patients. These medications work by altering your brain chemistry. They increase your levels of dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals that not only affect your mood but also your perception of pain. Antidepressants may also help you stay positive and more active, which could decrease pain related to chronic conditions like arthritis. Antidepressants can have side effects like nausea and upset stomach, but usually these can be avoided by adjusting your dose and taking the medication with food.
Trigger Point Injections
If your chronic pain comes from a muscle-related condition like fibromyalgia, uterine fibroids, or an injury, your doctor may recommend trigger point injections. Basically, these are formulations of steroids and local pain relievers that are injected into a very specific site. They remain effective for a month or more, helping to alleviate not only pain but also inflammation. The injection itself may hurt a little, and you will have to go through the hassle of scheduling appointments regularly, but you won't have to take anything orally.
To learn more about these non-opiate pain treatments, talk to your doctor. Different remedies work for different patients. Speak with a medical professional like one at Inland Pain Medicine about pain management.