Have You Been Looking for a Drug-Free, Natural Solution to Chronic Pain?
Do you feel anxious or unnerved by the idea of relying solely on drugs for pain management for the foreseeable future? If so, those worries and fears are completely valid, especially if the drugs in question are opioids. After trying NSAIDs or steroids without feeling relief, many individuals with chronic pain can feel that they have no choice but to turn to more powerful opioids.
However, this “solution” leads to incredible dangers and risks, from mind-addling intoxication to addiction, to the possibility of a fatal overdose. The good news is that natural and powerful pain-relieving techniques exist, and can help save you from both chronic pain and dangerous addiction.
Physical therapy has been proven time and again to help lessen pain without the use of drugs, and holds the key to ushering you into a lifestyle without opioid dependency.
Here are three natural ways our physical therapists can help you with pain management:
1. Increasing your range of motion
If you have been living with painful osteoarthritis in your knees or hips, you might be surprised to learn that most physical therapists would advise you to begin walking as an exercise. The benefits of walking include decreasing chronic joint pain and ensuring a greater degree of movement within arthritic joints. If you don’t feel ready to begin this exercise, due to your pain or discomfort level, you may benefit from swimming or other aquatic exercises where your body is supported by water.
Therapies involving heat, laser, and massage can also help rebuild your range of motion in inflamed joints and reduce pain. Strengthening exercises that target the surrounding muscles and connective tissues near damaged joints also help with pain relief, as they better enable your joints to function without strain.
2. Stress reduction for your muscles and nerves
It is very important for your body to maintain its natural balance, support, and symmetry. This maintenance is dependent on the functionality of your body’s spinal column and the support it receives from surrounding muscle groups. When the body and its systems function properly, your posture and musculoskeletal alignment are healthy- when it doesn’t, chronic pain conditions can easily develop.
Weakened, tight, or damaged muscles that can’t support the spinal column tire easily and lead to chronic strain. The resulting postural imbalances can then lead to further painful issues, from herniated discs to pinched nerves.
Fortunately, our physical therapists can quite literally straighten these problems out. At our offices, we can walk you through exercises designed to strengthen your back and neck muscles, providing much-needed support for your spine and ultimately reducing stress on those tissues.
Since improvements in posture can help relieve neurological discomfort by decreasing strain on nerves, we may suggest pain-relieving therapies like chiropractic adjustments to correct spinal abnormalities.
3. Targeting inflammation that causes pain and swelling
Inflammation is at the root of many types of chronic pain. This is because inflammation is a natural response of your immune system to sickness or damage. In fact, certain white blood cells trigger inflammatory processes as they work to help protect tissues.
The good news is your body also has a process, called sympatho-adrenergic activation, that suppresses the substances that cause inflammation. And physical therapy exercises can trigger it. Studies show that even a moderate exercise routine helps the sympathetic nervous system control the inflammatory processes responsible for the pain and swelling you feel.
By performing exercises in physical therapy that improve your circulation, you are helping your body get rid of the excess inflammatory substances that have accumulated over time. Massage, heat, cold, and laser therapy all increase blood flow to inflamed tissues, which expels toxins that cause or worsen your inflammation.
Why choose PT over opioids? Because your health and safety matters
It is important to understand the differences between opioids and over-the-counter drugs. When people turn to over-the-counter medications for pain management, it typically does not result in any significant health risks. For immediate pain relief, drugs like Advil, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen are generally safe to use in moderation.
However, with incidents and injuries of higher severity, like after car accidents or following a surgery, doctors are more likely to prescribe prescription-strength medications. And concerningly, opioids are the most used prescription medications in the United States. Considering the following facts, it is shocking that opioids are so commonly prescribed to patients seeking pain relief.
- Due to the highly addictive natures of opioids, they are the most commonly abused prescription medication.
- Opioids are a highly dangerous class of substances. Heroin is among the opioid category, as well as prescription pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and more.
- More than 2 million Americans become addicted to pain medication every year, with the two largest categories being prescription opioids and heroin. An estimated 15 million people worldwide suffer from opioid/heroin addiction each year.
- About a quarter of heroin addicts began their addiction through prescription opioid dependency.
The knowledge of these disturbing statistics paints a bleak picture regarding prescription pain medication use across the United States. And what once was a steadily growing issue has become labeled by experts as a genuine epidemic.
Perhaps one of the most frightening aspects of opioid use, is that many people now dependent on this harmful drug have no history of addiction, meaning opioid dependency is far easier to develop than first time users might suspect. Fortunately, physical therapy can help provide you with long-lasting pain relief from chronic illness in a much safer, healthier, and natural way.
Ready to begin your natural and safe journey towards pain relief? Contact us today!
Opioids and other painkilling drugs have their place in medicine, but thanks to physical therapy, you don’t have to rely on them as your only weapons against chronic pain.
Reach out to our physical therapist to discover how a specialized program could hold the natural solutions you have been searching for!